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Cannibal WritesEating Others in Caribbean and Indian Ocean Women's Writing$
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Njeri Githire

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038785

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038785.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Immigration, Assimilation, and Conflict

Immigration, Assimilation, and Conflict

A Dialectics of Cannibalism and Anthropemy

(p.77) 2 Immigration, Assimilation, and Conflict
Cannibal Writes

Njeri Githire

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the deployment of counter-incorporative strategies as a means to thwart potentially dangerous elements from entering the eating body. In particular, it examines how, through the language of disease and contamination that proliferates in the realm of immigration and its effect on culture, select national cultures are portrayed as under attack from foreigners and their filthy, debased bodies. Marked with cannibalism as the ultimate expression of savagery and human degradation, these bodies evoke anxiety and deep-seated fear of extinction in the national consciousness. Focusing on select texts by Edwidge Danticat, Andrea Levy, and Gisèle Pineau—works that have become entrenched in the canon of Caribbean women's writings thanks to their framing of food and eating as symbolic practices in diasporic identity formation—the chapter analyzes the national body as an ingesting, digesting, and excreting organism. It explores the twin phenomena of cannibalism, that is: taking in difference in order to neutralize its negative impacton the receiving body, and anthropemy—the elimination of sickening symptoms by vomiting the ingested foreign body.

Keywords:   cannibalism, immigration, national culture, Edwidge Danticat, Andrea Levy, and Gisèle Pineau, national body, anthropemy

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