Application DeadlineApplications to the Women's History program are accepted on a rolling basis.
Remembering Gerda Lerner
Members of the Women's History Graduate Program community mourn the loss of Gerda Lerner, who passed away on January 2, 2013. Those of us who have benefitted from her tireless efforts to establish women's history and studies as respected academic disciplines remember and celebrate her life and legacy. She, along with Joan Kelly and a dedicated cohort of faculty, fought hard to establish and maintain our program, the first graduate program of its kind in the nation. Largely because of Gerda's determination and inspiration, we are still today known as one of the most rigorous and prestigious programs of this kind anywhere. This innovative program inspired the development of such programs around the globe. And, it was out of the 1979 Summer Institute here at Sarah Lawrence organized by Gerda and the Women's Action Alliance that Women's History Week, which later became Women's History Month, was born.
Dr. Lerner leaves a prestigious legacy of scholarship. Committed to making visible the ignored and debased, debunking the mythology of the unimportance and inaction of the underrepresented, she has inspired hundreds of women's history students and faculty here at SLC and around the country and world. Her groundbreaking Black Women in White America: A Documentary History, for example, forever shattered elite ideas of who makes history and whose history matters.
We in the Women's History graduate program are committed to honoring and remembering Gerda Lerner properly. We will continue to honor her legacy as we have always done in teaching and guiding our students to understanding the complexities of historical studies and the relationship of that understanding to the issues that affect real people in the real world. As an Austrian Jew who escaped Nazi terror, Gerda knew all too well the significance of this understanding.
We will honor Gerda Lerner during our annual conference, the first weekend in March and will hold a special symposium in honor of Gerda's body of work and accomplishments next year.
Now that Gerda has left us, we have lost two greats in less than one year—Gerda and Amy Swerdlow, her student and director for many years herself—but their legacies live on in our program. We recommit ourselves to this innovative program in their honor, continuing their mission of training critical thinkers who understand and convey through their research the complexities of global women's and gender histories, feminisms, and understandings and intersectionality of gender, race, and class. We maintain their commitment to understanding the relationship between scholarship, advocacy, and activism. In keeping with the philosophies of Gerda Lerner and Amy Swerdlow, we are no ivory tower, but a place that connects the stories of the past to the issues of the present. Thank you Gerda and Amy. We wonder what you are discussing and planning right now!
If you would like to honor Gerda by making a donation to her scholarship fund, please make checks payable to Sarah Lawrence College and put Gerda Lerner Scholarship Fund in the memo section. Contributions may be mailed to: Rona L. Holub, Director, Women's History Graduate Program, Sarah Lawrence College, 1 Mead Way, North 1, Bronxville, NY 10708.
We invite you to learn more about our 15th Annual Women's History Conference, which will honor the legacies of Gerda Lerner and Amy Swerdlow.
Rona Holub, Priscilla Murolo, Tara James, and the entire Women's History graduate program