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Book Talk: Craving Earth: Understanding Pica, The Urge to Eat Clay, Starch, Ice and Chalk

Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 4:00pm

Mann Library, 160
Cornell University Mann Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

In a “Chats in the Stacks” book talk at Mann Library, Sera Young, a faculty member in the Division of Nutritional Sciences in the College of Human Ecology, will discuss her new book “Craving Earth: Understanding Pica, The Urge to Eat Clay, Starch, Ice and Chalk.” Human biology and culture are interwoven in this exploration of pica, the craving to eat clay, dirt, starch and other nonfood substances.

“Pica” has been around for a very long time, and in Young’s new book, she searches for answers as to why some people engage in this curious behavior and what mysterious properties these substances possess. Touching on the history of medicine and world literature, she constructs the biocultural framework of pica, tests scientific hypotheses, identifies its most avid partakers (pregnant women and young children), and describes the potentially healthful and harmful effects. Merging history with intimate case studies, her book can be enjoyed by a variety of people, not only those with an intimate knowledge of nutritional, soil, or biomedical sciences.

Following the talk, Professor Young will lead a question and answer session. Light refreshments will be available throughout the event and a book signing will follow.

The "Chats in the Stacks" book talk is funded by the Mary A. Morrison Public Education Fund at Mann Library.

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Cornell University Library, Mann Library


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Lynn Bertoia

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Sera L. Young

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Division of Nutritional Sciences

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