Joan Jacobs Brumberg – An Intimate History of American Girls

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The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls

Advertising has had a major effect on how we view our bodies and on our individual self-image. The history of how this advertising has come to affect American girls as they pass through menarche and adolescence is presented in a book called “The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls.” This book describes the historical roots of acute societal and psychological pressures that girls feel today. It shows how the female adolescent experience has changed since 1895. The author, Joan Jacobs Brumberg, is a Professor of History and Women’s Studies at Cornell University in New York. In this two-part program, I spoke Professor Brumberg in October of 1997 and asked her what drew her to write “The Body Project.”

Joan Jacobs Brumberg recommends “Learning to Bow,” by Bruce Feiler & “The Grass Link,” by May Vinchi.

Originally Broadcast: October 14, 1997 & October 21, 1997

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Blanche Boyd – Self-Styled Outlaw Lesbians

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Terminal Velocity

The concept of memoir versus fiction leads many authors to transform their personal experiences and life to fiction. Blanche Boyd is a native of South Carolina and a Professor of Literature at Connecticut College. She is also the author of the book entitled, “Terminal Velocity.” This is a book about a group of self-styled lesbian outlaws in the 1970s. We discussed the relationship of memoir and fiction, and how it applies to her work.

Blanche Boyd recommends “Cathedral” & “To the Waterfall,” both by Raymond Carver.

Originally Broadcast: August 19, 1997

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Amy Bloom – Love as Creator

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Love Invents Us

Amy Bloom is a Connecticut-based author and psychotherapist and the author of a novel entitled “Love Invents Us.” This book, the enactment of psychological theory about human behavior, also traces the intimate details in the life of Elizabeth Howe from her childhood to middle age. I spoke with Amy Bloom by phone while she was on tour to discuss ‘Love Invents Us” and asked her, “how does love invent us?”

Amy Bloom recommends “Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream,” by John Derbyshire.

Originally Broadcast: February 12, 1997

Terry Gross – Fresh Air

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If you like interview programs perhaps you have listened to Fresh Air, produced in Philadelphia and broadcast regularly many public radio stations.  The host is Terry Gross, our guest on this edition of Radio Curious. I wanted to know who she is, and what she does to prepare for and create Fresh Air. When we visited by phone from her home near Philadelphia, I asked her how she puts together so many interesting programs so frequently.

The books Terry Gross recommends are “Self-Consciousness: Memoirs,” by John Updike, and “U and I,” by Nicholson Baker.

The program was originally broadcast: March 7, 1994

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Maria Stewart – Sandra Kamusukiri – A Visit With a Free Black Woman – Boston 1840

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Maria W. Stewart, as characterized by professor and scholar Sandra Kamusakiri, was a free black woman who lived in Boston, MA, from the 1820s to the early 1840s. She was the first American born woman to lecture in public on political themes and likely the first African-American to speak out in defense of women’s rights. A forerunner to Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, she was intensely religious and regarded as outspoken and controversial during her time. For more than a century, Maria W. Stewart’s life contributions remained obscured, illustrating the double pressures of racism and sexism on the lives African-American women. I met with Mariah W. Stewart in the person of Professor Sandra Kamusukiri during the 1996 Democracy in America Chautauqua, held in Ukiah, California.

Maria Stewart recommends “The Fair Sketches of Women,” by John Adams and “The Bible.”

Originally Broadcast: November 27, 1996

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Gilbert, Ronnie, as “Mother Jones” – ‘The Most Dangerous Woman in America’

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Mary Harris Jones, Mother Jones, was born in 1830. She lived a quiet, non-public life until she was approximately 47 years old and then, for almost the next fifty years, she was a fiery union organizer, strike leader, and fighter for safe and humane working conditions, the eight hour day, and child labor laws. Around the turn of the century, she was called the most dangerous woman in America. Her legacy has lived on in the form of a magazine that bears the name, Mother Jones; and in the form of a one-woman play about her life, produced, acted and written by singer and songwriter Ronnie Gilbert.

Mother Jones recommends any books by Leo Tolstoy. Ronnie Gilbert recommends “Hawaii,” by James Mechiner.

Originally Broadcast: March 12, 1997

 

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Eickhoff, Diane — The Revolutionary Heart and Life of Clarina Nichols

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The life of Clarina Nichols and her work in the early women’s rights movement in the United States has been greatly overlooked. As one of the country’s first female newspaper editors and stump speakers, Clarina Nichols spoke out for temperance, abolition and women’s rights at a time when doing so could get a woman killed. Unlike other activists, she personally experienced some of the cruelest sufferings that a married woman of her day could know. In her pursuit for justice she traveled westward facing all of the challenges of being a single mother and a women’s rights activist of her day with good humor and resourcefulness. Clarina Nichols is portrayed by Diane Eickhoff in this chautauquan style interview.  We began when I asked Clarina about her childhood.

The book Clarina Nichols recommends is “The Sexes Throughout Nature (Pioneers of the woman’s movement),” by Antoinette Louisa Brown Blackwell.

The book Diane Eickhoff recommends is “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 911” by Lawrence Wright.

This program was originally broadcast on January 13, 2007.

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Wilkerson, Isabel — America’s Great Migration: 1915-1970 Part Two

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In the years between 1915 and 1970 almost six million black American citizens from the south migrated to northern and western cities seeking freedom and a better life. Our guest is Pulitzer Prize winner, Isabel Wilkerson author of “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.” Her book tells the untold experiences of the African-Americans who fled the south over three generations.

Wilkerson interviewed more than 1,000 people for her book. She is the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize and is a recipient of the George Polk Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. Her parents were part of the great migration, journeying from Georgia and southern Virginia to Washington D.C.

In part one she discussed what she called the “biggest untold story of the 20th century.”  In part two of our conversation, recorded from her home near Atlanta, Georgia, on September 28, 2012, Isabel Wilkerson describes the inspiration behind her narrative non-fiction story of the six million African-Americans who migrated from the south between 1915 and 1970.

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Wilkerson, Isabel — America’s Great Migration: 1915-1970 Part One

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In the years between 1915 and 1970 almost six million black American citizens from the south migrated to northern and western cities seeking freedom and a better life. Our guest is Pulitzer Prize winner, Isabel Wilkerson author of “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.” Her book tells the untold experiences of the African-Americans who fled the south over three generations.

Wilkerson interviewed more than 1,000 people for her book. She is the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize and is a recipient of the George Polk Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. Her parents were part of the great migration, journeying from Georgia and southern Virginia to Washington D.C.

In the first of two interviews recorded from Isabel Wilkerson’s home near Atlanta, Georgia, on September 28, 2012, she begins with a description of the “biggest untold story of the 20th century.”

The book Isabel Wilkerson recommends is “The Ark of Justice,” by Kevin Boyle.

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Elana Rozenman – Jewish, Muslim & Christian Understanding

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In June, 2002 I overheard an American woman now living in Israel passionately describe her belief that teaching children to be suicide bombers is the worst form of child abuse imaginable. I invited Elana Radley Rosenman, an organizer of the Women’s Interfaith Encounter, a group of Muslim, Christian and Jewish women who meet regularly in Jerusalem, to be our guest on this edition of Radio Curious.

Elana Rozenman recommends “Yet a Stranger: Why Black Americans Still Don’t Feel at Home,” Debra Mathis.

Originally Broadcast: July 23, 2002

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