Jane earned her PhD in American Studies at Brown University with a specialty in women and gender history, history of sexuality and 20th century American culture. Before turning to full time writing, she worked at some of New England’s finest colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Brown University, MIT and Mt. Holyoke College.
Her first book, Desiring Revolution, examines 1970s feminists’ interest in sexuality and their engagement with not only the major thinkers in the study of sex in the 20th century such as Freud, Kinsey, Masters and Johnson but the counter culture and its reshaping of sexual pleasure broadly. Feminist engagement proved absolutely critical to expanding the “sexual revolution” to women. Her newest book, The Dinner Party, traces the making of Judy Chicago’s iconic piece of feminist art, the visible and invisible feminist infrastructure that supported and produced the work, and its controversial tour. The Dinner Party, debated on the floor of the US House of Representatives in 1990 as pornography, found a permanent home at the Brooklyn Museum in 2007 where it continues to draw in large audiences.
Gerhard is also a co-author of a US women’s history textbook, Women and the Making of America. Gerhard lives in Providence, RI where she is at work on a number of new and historically informed projects. Stay tuned!