“Dirt is matter out-of-place.” This quote, by the anthropologist Mary Douglas, points to the cultural relativity of the term ‘dirt’; of dirt being culturally defined. It is in reference to diseases that ‘dirt’ takes on a non-culturally and more universally defined aura. Hence, the eating of dirt – or geophagy – covers a wide range of both culturally and medically defined practices.
I don’t want to get into a discussion on the benefits or negative aspects of geophagy, but to bring to attention several examples that come from 19th Century Africa. This is in response to a series of hits onto my blog from the Wikipedia entry on ‘Geophagy‘ – an entry that is being contested (geophagy seems to be an emotional topic!).
Continue blog here: Clay-Eating (Geophagy) in the 19th Century [From the Archives].
- Cuisines and Crops of Africa, 19th Century – Zambezi River Watershed in Southern Africa (dianabuja.wordpress.com)
- 19th Century Lozi Kingdom of Africa (egrejeen.wordpress.com)