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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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Dis(h)coursing Hunger

Dis(h)coursing Hunger

In the Throes of Voracious Capitalist Excesses

(p.121) 3 Dis(h)coursing Hunger
Cannibal Writes

Njeri Githire

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the use of the trope of hunger in Lindsey Collen's There is a Tide (1990) and Mutiny (2001) to dispel the myth of Mauritius as a model of paradise that permeates historical, travel, and literary writing. In these texts, the plight of characters debilitated by lack of nourishment, literally and metaphorically, and symbolically consumed by the ravenous, parasitic apotheoses of capitalist market relations points to cannibalism as the ultimate act of domination. Specifically, Collen draws an analogy between the historic slavery that had been the economic basis of the island as a plantation colony, and contemporary economic processes that commodify bodies in the production of consumable goods. In this general scenario of cannibalistic cravings that threaten the autonomy of physical and national bodies, the predicament of the Chagossians (or Chagos Islanders)—forcibly displaced to Mauritius after their island was expropriated and turned into a strategic lynchpin for U.S. military operations in the Middle East and the wider Indian Ocean region—evokes territorial appropriation as spatial cannibalism par excellence. The chapter also highlights the newer forms of cannibal intent that continue to define islands' contact and subsequent negotiations with consumer culture.

Keywords:   hunger, Lindsey Collen, There is a Tide, Mutiny, Mauritius, slavery, plantation colony, consumer culture, Chagos Islanders, territorial appropriation

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