Jan. 21, 1999

'The Body Project' by Joan Jacobs Brumberg wins national award

The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls (1997) by Joan Jacobs Brumberg, a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow and professor of human development and women's studies at Cornell University, has been chosen one of Choice's Outstanding Academic Books.

Choice is a review journal for academic libraries. Each year, it selects a list of "the best of the best books." Choice cites its selections for their "excellence in scholarship and presentation, significance with regard to other literature in the field, and recognition as an important, often the first, treatment of a specific subject in print..."

The Body Project, which explores the changing historical experience of girls and their bodies as described in more than 100 diaries written since the 1830s, was Brumberg's deliberate attempt to bring women's history to a larger audience. It has been selected as a Book-of-the-Month Club and Quality Paperback Book Club alternate selection.

A social and cultural historian, Brumberg will embark on a nationwide, 30-stop book tour in February for three months, giving lectures at numerous universities, schools and Cornell alumni clubs from Colorado and California to Texas and Georgia. Brumberg has discussed the book on the "Today Show," "Oprah Winfrey Show," "Lenny Lopate Show" (NYC), National Public Radio's "Fresh Air" and dozens of other radio interview shows.

"Society has come to believe in the perfectibility of the body, and girls are bearing the brunt of this social change," says Brumberg, "In this post-virginal world, they are experiencing the pressure of appearance upkeep from almost every angle: Technology, economics, medicine, advertising, family life, consumerism, all of which are pushing the idea that the body is more important than the mind."

Brumberg also is the author of Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa (Harvard University Press, 1988) which won four major book prizes. She received her B.A. (1965) in history from the University of Rochester, her master's (1971) in American studies from Boston College and her Ph.D. (1978) in American history from the University of Virginia.