Gerda Lerner, the Robinson-Edwards Professor of History Emerita at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and past president of the Organization of American Historians, will discuss and sign her new book, “Fireweed: A Political Autobiography (Critical Perspectives on the Past)” [Temple University Press, 2002], on Monday (Nov. 4). Sponsored by the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Cronkhite Graduate Center Living Room at 5:30 p.m.

A native of Austria, Lerner escaped Nazi persecution in 1938 and fled to America. She went on to become a political activist and scholar, receiving her bachelor’s degree when she was 40. Now in her 80s, Lerner turns back to the early years that shaped her. Using the metaphor of fireweed, which can only blossom on burnt-over ground, Lerner reflects on her experiences as a member of groups outside the mainstream that led her to women’s studies. “Women have for longer than any other human group been defined by others and have been defined as ‘the Other,'” she says.

Her other books include “Women and History,” “Why History Matters: Life and Thought,” “The Creation of Patriarchy,” and “Black Women in White America: A Documentary History.”

This past May, Lerner became the first woman to receive the Bruce Catton Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Historical Writing from the Society of American Historians. Visit for more information.