For Immediate Release
All Zones
March 1, 1999
For More Information Contact:
Office of Marketing and Communications
From Corsets to Body Piercing: An Intimate History of American Girls

Drawing on unpublished diaries of American girls from the 1830s to today, award-winning author Joan Jacobs Brumberg will reveal why “girlhood has become something of an endangered species” at the Indiana University Northwest Library Conference Center on March 4 at 7 p.m.

In recognition of Women’s History Month, Brumberg will explore how American girls’ relationship to her body has changed over the past 100 years as researched in her book, The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls.

While looking at young women in America and how they have gone from corsets to body piercing, Brumberg explains how history and culture have shaped the experience of American girls, and discloses how the body has become “an all-consuming project” for many young women. With the intimate information compiled for The Body Project, Brumberg will explain:

  • How girls’ bodies and their sexuality have changed since the Victorian era.
  • What has happened to the mother-daughter connection in America.
  • How education about sexuality and maturation has changed.
  • How we can help girls today deal with the realities of growing up in a world where sexual expression is valued but also problematic.
A Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow and professor at Cornell University, Brumberg is a social historian who teaches in the departments of history, human development and women’s studies. Fasting Girls, her 1988 book about the history of anorexia nervosa, won the Berkshire Book Prize, the John Hope Franklin Prize, the Eileen Basker Memorial Award and the Watson Davis Prize.

The Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Society of American Historians and the MacDowell Colony has also recognized Brumberg’s research and writing about American women and girls.

The Brumberg presentation is open to the community. For more information on the event telephone the student activities office at 219-980-6792 or the women's studies center at 219-980-6680.

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