Fireweed: A Political Autobiography
The history of women has existed as long as humans have, but it was not until the last half of the 20th Century that women’s history received academic attention. Our guest, Professor Gerda Lerner is a pioneer of the study of women’s history and a founder of the movement to study and record the history of women.
Gerda Lerner led an extraordinary life from April 30, 1920 to January 2, 2013. She was a historian, author and teacher, and ultimately a professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin. Her academic work was characterized by the attention she drew to the differences among women in class, race and sexual orientation.
She grew up in Vienna, Austria, suffered in the Nazi persecution of the European Jews, came to the United States as a teenager, and married a writer who was subsequently blacklisted in the 1950s. She later entered Columbia University in 1958, originally to take a few classes and by 1966 she had earned a doctorate in history.
“Fireweed: A Political Autobiography,” tells her life story up to the time she enrolled at Columbia University.
Professor Lerner and I visited by phone in October 2002, began with her description why the distinctions among women of class, race and sexual orientation are important.
The book Dr. Gerda Lerner recommends is “A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812″ by Laurel Ulrich.
Originally Broadcast: October 1, 2002
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