Gerda Lerner, a UW-Madison professor in the History department passed away earlier this month. In honor of her great life Jan Miyasaki plays a small excerpt from an interview with Gerda in 2009.
Gerda Lerner set the foundation for women’s history at a time when people in her field were told that Women’s studies, along with African American Studies, were just fads. The academic response to women’s history was a defensive one, claiming that the field already had one history- the history of the human race. She also met an argument against women’s studies as a career path. Many believed that women’s history would never find a place in academia. Yet Gerda Lerner persisted. Gerda described her work as a necessary piece of her activism.
If you would like to learn more about Gerda Lerner, her political autobiography, Fireweed, covers her early life in Vienna, Austria, through her time in Madison.
Gerda Lerner died on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013. She was 92 years old.
Listen to the entire interview here: