Paul Lerner

Professor of History

Contact Information
E-mail: plerner@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-1653
Office: SOS 276



  • B.A. History, University of Chicago, 6/1988
  • Ph.D. History, Columbia University, 5/1996

  • Postdoctoral Training

    • Charles W. and Sally Rothfield Fellow, Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Fall 2008   
    • Post-doctoral Fellow, Georgetown University, BMW Center for German and European Studies, 2000-2001   
    • Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine (London, UK), 03/01/1996-08/01/1997  

    Description of Research

    Summary Statement of Research Interests
    Professor Lerner is a historian of nineteenth and twentieth-century Germany and Central Europe with particular interest in the history of the human sciences, Jewish history, gender, and the history and theory of consumer culture. He has written on the history of psychiatry, specifically on hysteria and trauma in political, cultural and economic context in the years around World War I in Germany, and he recently published a book on the reception and representation of department stores and modern forms of marketing and consumption in Germany and Central Europe. Entitled "The Consuming Temple: Jews, Department Stores, and the Consumer Revolution in Germany, 1880-1949," the book appeared with Cornell University Press in Spring 2015. It pays particular attention to the notion of the "Jewish department store" and the ways that various movements deployed images of Jews to critique excessive consumption or mass consumer society. Lerner is also part of a long-term project and working group on German Jewish popular culture and has co-edited a volume of essays entitled: "Jewish Masculinities: German Jews, Gender and History." His current projects involve the history of German-speaking émigrés from Nazi-controlled Europe and a study of the ready-made clothing industry in Germany. Lerner's books can be found at: http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/cup_detail.taf?ti_id=3972 http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521583659 and http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/product_info.php?products_id=155683
    Research Keywords
    Modern German and Central European History, European-Jewish history, History of Human Sciences/Psychiatry, Fascism

    Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

    • USC-Max Kade Institute for Austrian-German-Swiss Studies, Director, http://dornsife.usc.edu/max-kade/


    • Lerner, P. F. (2015). The Consuming Temple: Jews, Department Stores and The Consumer Revolution in Germany. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
    • Lerner, Paul F., Baader, Benjamin M., Gillerman, Sharon I. (Ed.). (2012). Jewish Masculinities: German Jews, Gender and History. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
    • Lerner, P. F. (2003). Hysterical Men: War, Psychiatry and the Politics of Trauma in Germany, 1890-1930 (Cornell University Press, 2003). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
    • Lerner, P. F., Micale, M. S. (2001). Traumatic Pasts: History, Psychiatry and Trauma in the Modern Age, 1870-1930. Cambridge University Press.

    Book Chapter
    • Lerner, P. F. (2010). Consuming Powers: The "Jewish Department Store" in German Politics and Society. The Economy in Jewish History pp. 133-156. New York: Berghahn Books.

    Journal Article
    • Lerner, P. F. (2010). Circulation and Representation: Jews, Department Stores and Cosmopolitan Consumption in Germany, 1880-1930. European Review of History/Revue Européenne d'Histoire. Vol. 17 (3), pp. 395-413.
    • Lerner, P. F. (2009). An All Consuming History: New Works on Consumption in 20th Century Germany. Central European History. Vol. 42 (3), pp. 509-543.
    • Lerner, P. F. (2006). Consuming Pathologies: Kleptomania, Magazinitis, and the Problem of Female Consumption in Wilhelmine and Weimar Germany. WerkstattGeschichte. Vol. 46-56

    • Lerner, P. F. (2009). Cultural Studies Meets Jewish Studies: New Approaches to the German Jewish Past: An Introduction. Journal of Modern Jewish Studies.

    Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works

    • Blog, http://www.myjewishlearning.com/blog/history-community/from-the-academy-paul-lerner/, Spring 2009   

    Honors and Awards

    • USC-Advancing Scholarship in the Social Sciences and Humanities Award, 2012-2013   
    • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Recipient, 2011-2012   
    • Charles W. and Sally Rothfield Fellowship at Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Fall 2008   
    • Alexander von Humbolt Fellowship Recipient, Research Fellowship, held at the University of Potsdam, 2005-2006  
    • USC Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award, 2005  
    • USC, General Education Teaching Award, 2001-2002  
    • Post-doctoral Fellowship, Georgetown University , BMW Center for German and European Studies, 2000-2001  
    • USC Zumberge Research and Innovation Fund Award, 1999-2000  
    • Post-doctoral Fellowship, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London, 1996-1997  

    Service to the Profession

    Editorships and Editorial Boards
    • Editorial Board Member, Cornell Studies in the History of Psychiatry (Series), 2004-  

    Other Service to the Profession
    • Southern California German Studies Workshop. Founder and Director. An interdisciplinary group of scholars on German studies in the Southern California area. We meet each semester at a different area campus to read and discuss works in progress., 09/01/1999-  

  • Department of History
  • 3502 Trousdale Parkway
  • Social Sciences Building (SOS) 153
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 90089-0034