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Cannibalism and the Commodity Aesthetic

This section examines the connections between cannibalism and commodity chains within the early Caribbean. "Cannibal" as a label was first used to described people in the West Indies who were thought to eat humans. As a trope, cannibalism is seen throughout Caribbean print culture in a number of different ways: Equiano, in his narrative, describes a fear of being eaten by white Europeans. But we might also think of cannibalism in terms of labor, production, and commodities: sugarcane labor, for instance, was notoriusly dangerous, with machinery | amputation of limbs | eating away at the human bodies who worked to produce it. Salt (as a commodity) functioned similarly. The cannibalistic chain they engendered whereby salt fish was fed to the slaves who worked the sugar fields.

Cannibalism and the Commodity Aesthetic