February 1, 2021 6:30 pm
Dr. Ruth Westheimer may best be known for having pioneered talking about sex on radio and television, but that’s only a small part of her life. Born in Germany in 1928, Westheimer was sent to Switzerland at age 10 to escape the Holocaust, which wiped out her immediate family. At 17 she went to then Palestine where she joined the Israeli freedom fighters, trained to be a sniper, and was seriously wounded in a bomb blast. She later moved to Paris, then the U.S. Her work for Planned Parenthood led her to study human sexuality, which she now gives lectures on worldwide. She wrote 44 books, the latest of which are “Stay or Go” and “Roller Coaster Grandma.”
This lecture will be moderated by UW Professor of Sociology, Dr. Pepper Schwartz.
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About the speaker
Dr. Ruth Westheimer
Behavioral Therapist, Sexpert and Alzheimer’s Caregiving Authority
Dr. Ruth Westheimer may best be known for having pioneered talking explicitly about sex on radio and television, but as it turns out, that is only a small part of her rich and diversified life. Born in Germany in 1928, Dr. Westheimer was sent to Switzerland at the age of ten to escape the Holocaust, which wiped out her entire immediate family. At the age of seventeen she went to then Palestine. She joined the Haganah, the Israeli freedom fighters, was trained to be a sniper and was seriously wounded in a bomb blast. She later moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne and in 1956 went to the U.S. where she obtained her Masters Degree (M.A.) in Sociology from the Graduate Faculty of the New School of Social Research and Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in the Interdisciplinary Study of the Family from Columbia University Teacher’s College.
Her work for Planned Parenthood led her to study human sexuality under Dr. Helen Singer Kaplan at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center, where she became an Adjunct Associate Professor. Subsequently she taught courses at various institutions of higher learning including Princeton and Yale. She currently is teaching a course at Columbia’s Teachers College and Hunter College. She continues to lecture worldwide.
She is the author of 44 books, the latest of which are Stay or Go and Roller Coaster Grandma and the executive producer of five documentaries. She has her own web page (www.drruth.com.) and can be found on Twitter @AskDrRuth and on YouTube. A one-woman show about her life, “Becoming Dr. Ruth” has played in the Berkshires, Hartford and off- Broadway and continues to tour. And a documentary about her life has been made, Ask Dr. Ruth, premiered on January 25th at the Sundance Film Festival and will be shown in theaters across the country and then on Hulu. Dr. Westheimer, a widow, has two children, four grandchildren and resides in New York City.
About the moderator
Dr. Pepper Schwartz
Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington
Dr. Pepper Schwartz is Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, and her Ph.D. from Yale University. She is Past President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexualities and Past President of the Pacific Sociological Association. The American Sociological Association has given her the award for Public Understanding of Sexuality and the Simon and Gagnon award for distinguished work on sexualities. She is the author of 25 books and over 50 academic articles. She was the love, sex and relationship ambassador for AARP for over a decade and, for the past 7 years has appeared as a relationship expert on the Lifetime television program “Married at First Sight.”
Sponsoring Departments: The Graduate School