Shedding the Barbaric Stereotype Associated with Cannibalism


  • Eric Kim University of British Columbia


Cannibalism, the consumption of human body parts, has been a part of important cultural traditions throughout history. Despite European perceptions of cannibalism as barbaric, it remained a common practice in many communities. In cultures such as the Aghori of India, cannibalism was common, with its members consuming human skulls and flesh. Despite the controversy behind the subject of cannibalism, it is crucial to note that cannibalism has also been observed in religious traditions, such as the Catholic Church’s practice of consuming the symbolic body and blood of Christ. The benefits of cannibalism are endless, and cultures that continue to practice it are witnesses. However, the arrival of Europeans in the New World marked a turning point in the perception of cannibalism. European perspectives on cannibalism were instrumental in reshaping the way the practice was perceived and understood. This study seeks to show how various cultures practiced cannibalism and its significance to these cultures. The study also seeks to prove that the over-simplification of cannibalism leads to many misconceptions about it and its cultural significance. Cannibalism was a way of showing love to the dead, maintaining spirituality, protecting the soul, and providing medicinal benefits.