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Paul Lerner

Professor of History

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-1653
Office: SOS 276

Curriculum Vitae


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

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: and

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,



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,, 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-  
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