Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

First Advisor

Itziar Barrio Diez

Second Advisor

Caden Manson


In this writing, cannibalism as a symbol of taboo and villainy are explored alongside trans identities and modes of making. Using examples from popular media such as Silence of the Lambs and Psycho, cannibalism and queerness are vessels to explore how performance is made. When your existence is politicized and your body is a symbol of fear, how does that inform the process of creating art? How can trans artists cannibalize and consume in order to reify and remake new possibilities of performance? To begin, examples of pop culture cannibals are examined and dissected through the lens of trans villainy. Trans identities as inherently villainous or taboo is posited against the taboo around cannibalism. This analysis is enacted in practice via the Brazilian art movement of antropofagia from its origins to modern day theatrical interpretations. The liminal space of trans bodies in the digital world is explored in the final chapter, in which the consumption of virtual bodies can be a tool for liberation or continued oppression. Following the essay is a conversation with John Jarboe regarding her performance Rose: You Are What You Eat in which RED and John get into the nitty gritty of trans cannibalism.

White this paper is merely a lily pad and not yet a landing place, the question of finding liberation in the taboo is the fulcrum of this writing. What does it mean when we are all cannibals?