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Seeing cannibals : European colonial discourses on the Latin American other

Jimenez del Val, Nasheli 2009. Seeing cannibals : European colonial discourses on the Latin American other. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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The figure of the cannibal has been central in the development of European colonial discourses on Latin America. It has functioned as a locus for coming to grips with otherness and as a crucial marker for differentiating between the "civilised" and the "savage" in European discourses. While there is an extensive academic body of work on the figure of the Latin American cannibal in written texts, a study dedicated exclusively to the images of Latin American cannibals is lacking. The present dissertation addresses this gap by looking at the role that printed images of cannibalism played in the construction of European discourses on Latin American otherness during the colonial period of the region (1500-ca. 1750). It focuses on a corpus consisting mainly of woodcuts and copperplates that illustrated the main European travel narratives, New World compendiums, maps and atlases of the period. Centrally, this work proposes that visual representations of the cannibal functioned as discursive sites for the deployment of strategic othering at the service of European colonialism in the Americas. The theoretical framework for this study is based on Foucault's work on discourse and the impact that particular systems of power/knowledge had on the representational regimes of the period. Further theoretical references include postcolonial theory through figures such as Said, Bhabha and Mignolo, as well as current debates on visual culture and visuality. In terms of methodology, the thesis locates the shifts in European forms of discursive othering over time and space by following a Foucauldian method of discourse analysis based on archaeological and genealogical analyses of the corpus. It also addresses the intertextual and interdiscursive threads that connect these printed images of Latin American cannibals to their accompanying texts and surrounding discourses.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
ISBN: 9781303189494
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2014 13:28

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