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Cannibal Talk: The Man-Eating Myth and Human Sacrifice in the South Seas Paperback – June 6, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (June 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520243080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520243088
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,992,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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"A tour de force: meticulously argued, nuanced, and wideranging in its interpretations. In the hands of a master, the prodigious scholarship and large intellectual appetite make for a very convincing, comprehensive work." -George Marcus, coeditor of Writing Culture; "The sheer scope of Cannibal Talk is remarkable, and its contribution to the anthropology of colonialism outstanding. Obeyesekere's research, original thinking, and applied reading are unrivalled on the discourses of cannibalism and their implications." -Paul Lyons, University of Hawaii"

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"A tour de force: meticulously argued, nuanced, and wideranging in its interpretations. In the hands of a master, the prodigious scholarship and large intellectual appetite make for a very convincing, comprehensive work."—George Marcus, coeditor of Writing Culture

"The sheer scope of Cannibal Talk is remarkable, and its contribution to the anthropology of colonialism outstanding. Obeyesekere's research, original thinking, and applied reading are unrivalled on the discourses of cannibalism and their implications. "—Paul Lyons, University of Hawai'i

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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By David Andrew Thomas on June 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
Obeyesekere's "Cannibal Talk" contains eight chapters which read like self-contained journal articles. Each chapter considers different aspects of European and American discourses on South Pacific cannibalism, focusing on New Zealand and Fiji. Obeyesekere's goal throughout is to discredit the authenticity any descriptions of cannibalism by attacking the witness's honesty, the coherence of his narratives, his motives, the expectations of his audience, and anything else that might call into question the text's veracity. The books are well selected in that Obeyesekere only talks about texts that he can successfully attack, and while the reader is never presented with a comprehensive image of what was said by Europeans and Americans about South Pacific cannibalism, Obeyesekere nonetheless offers the readers good reasons for being suspicious. But the discussion is one-sided, often sarcastic, sometimes badgering, and ultimately more argumentative than analytical. "Cannibal Talk" is academic polemics at its best, which means that it is not very good academic writing, but it is controversial. Obeyeskere, in other words, is playing an Ann Coulter-role in contemporary Anthropology: offering passionate, one-sided and poorly justified readings of the world, and inspiring equally passionate, one-sided, and poorly justified counter-attacks. "Cannibal Talk" may inspire readers who already agree with its sentiments, but it does little to further any interesting debate.
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