Cannibal Consumption: Culture, Capitalism, Critique

deadline for submissions: 
January 12, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
University College Dublin Humanities Institute

Call for Papers: UCD Humanities Institute PhD Conference, 1 March 2024

Cannibal Consumption: Culture, Capitalism, Critique

Keynote Speaker: Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes



The term ‘cannibalism’ evokes images of horror, violence, and taboo. It is a provocative and unsettling theme, often eliciting fear, disgust and fascination. Historically, colonial and imperial projects deployed racialised discourses of cannibalism in order to legitimise violence on allegedly ‘savage’ or ‘primitive’ populations (Francis Barker, Margaret Iverson, Peter Hulme, 1998). However, the resurgence of cannibalism in contemporary fiction and film has subverted these traditional narratives, offering nuanced perspectives that challenge established norms, societal taboos, and questions of identity by reevaluating the concept of cannibalism as a form of resistance, for instance as a metaphor for the reclaiming of female desire and sexuality. A 2022 New York Times article by food critic Alex Beggs, for instance, argues that the numerous literary and screen representations of cannibalism at the current juncture ‘suggest that the time [for cannibalism] is now.’ Responding to the provocations raised by cannibalism today, the conference intends to expand the ways in which it can be conceptualised.


The Cannibal Consumption Conference invites scholars and researchers from diverse disciplines to delve into the multifaceted theme of cannibalism or anthropophagy. It can be understood as both a literal or a metaphorical act of consumption (Maggie Kilgour, 1992), appropriation, and transformation that can involve the boundaries between self and other, nonhuman and human, culture and nature, bodies and texts, and so on. It can also be seen as a reflection of the contradictions and crises of the modern world, where capitalism, colonialism, environmental degradation, and racism produce forms of exploitation and subjugation that can be described as cannibalistic (Nancy Fraser, 2022).


The 2024 PhD Conference of the UCD Humanities Institute welcomes proposals from postgraduate candidates and ECRs for individual papers and pre-formed panels from the disciplines of literature, film, drama, music, psychoanalysis, philosophy, history, sociology, geography, classics, archaeology, and any other humanities or interdisciplinary fields suitable for a 20-minute presentation or a three-paper panel. We also keenly welcome proposals for practice-based artistic explorations of these topics as well as visual or performative elements that might take place in the conference venue.


Topics may include but are not limited to:


  • Cannibalism in History, Literature, Art, Photography, and On-Screen Media, in Mythology, Folklore, Philosophy, and Religion
  • Cannibalism in Gothic, Horror, Splatterpunk, and SF
  • Cannibalism and Meat in Animal Studies, Disability Studies, Food Studies
  • Cannibalism, Contamination and Contagion; and Biopolitics / Necropolitics / Thanatopolitics
  • Cannibalism, Imperialism and (Neo)colonialism: Debt Traps, Austerity, Structural Adjustment and Care Crises
  • Cannibalism, Platform Capitalism, and Surveillance: Data Predation, Cannibalisation of Net Neutrality, Dark Patterns and Filter Bubbles, Cannibalisation by AI of Human Labour
  • Cannibalism of Queer and Trans Lives by anti-LGBTQIA+ Policy and the Politics of “Family Values”


For individual presentations and posters, please submit an abstract (no more than 300 words) and a bio (150 words) to For pre-formed panels, please submit an abstract for the panel (no more than 500 words) and a bio for each speaker. All proposals should include name, email address and academic affiliation (if applicable). Please also include a main subject field plus secondary subject fields in the application.


The conference will be held in English on 1 March 2024. Attendance is free, but registration is mandatory on TicketSource. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 12 January 2024, and we aim to notify everyone of the outcome by 29 January 2024. Please let us know if you need early notification or any other assistance for personal or travel reasons, and we will do our best to accommodate.


The HI PhD Conference 2024 is convened by the following HI resident scholars: Agnese Casellato, Mathieu Bokestael, Pooja Sastry, Poulomi Choudhury, Séamus Nolan