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The Body Project Teacher’s Guide

By Joan Jacobs Brumberg

The Body Project by Joan Jacobs Brumberg



The questions and discussion topics that follow are intended to enhance your reading and discussion of Joan Jacobs Brumberg’s The Body Project. We hope they will give you a number of interesting angles from which to approach Brumberg’s provocative historical analysis of the experience of growing up in a female body during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries in America.


The Body Project will interest a wide variety of readers. Mothers and daughters of all ages will find it fascinating. Mothers and fathers of adolescent girls can use it to begin a dialogue with their daughters about sensitive issues, including puberty, menstruation, sexuality and sexual ethics, body image, eating disorders, and self-confidence. Groups of women who are the same age can discuss adolescent experiences common to their age group and relate those experiences to their own later lives. Pediatricians, sex and health educators, school psychologists, social workers, and teachers will find it valuable in their work. For adolescent girls it provides a new perspective on an intensely private and personal experience.


Joan Jacobs Brumberg is the Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow and Professor at Cornell University where she has been teaching history, human development, and women’s studies for twenty years. Fasting Girls, her l988 book about the history of anorexia nervosa, won the John Hope Franklin Prize, the Berkshire Book Prize, the Eileen Basker Prize, and the Watson Davis Prize. Her sensitive research and writing about American women and girls have been recognized by the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Society of American Historians, and The MacDowell Colony. From l985 to 1988, she was Director of Cornell’s Women’s Studies Program. She lives in Ithaca, New York.

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