The USC Max Kade Institute is a research center devoted to German and European studies. Located several blocks north of the USC campus, the institute hosts lectures, conferences, and performances for students, faculty and the general public. Institute programs cover German and European studies broadly defined, but its main areas of emphasis include: exile studies, Cold War studies; German history, film, and aesthetics; and contemporary German and European affairs.

Letter from the Director

Welcome to the home page of the Max Kade Institute for Austrian-German-Swiss Studies at USC’s Dornsife College!  Founded as a German Center in 1975 by the late Cornelius Schnauber, with a generous grant from the Max Kade Foundation, it became a research institute in 1984.  The Institute has focused above all on the lives, experiences and contributions of German-speaking exiles in Southern California, providing a “Pacific perspective” on German history, literature, theater, film and music.  Indeed, the Institute conceives of German studies broadly, and situates German history, culture and political life within interdisciplinary and broader European and global frameworks.  Our ongoing programs continue to emphasize the study of exiles, and our other areas of interest include: Cold War studies; German-Jewish relations; and German and European culture, history and film.

Located in a beautifully restored building several blocks north of campus, the Institute houses USC Dornsife’s three German language instructors.  It also possesses its own open access library of German literature and an institutional archive, housed within USC’s library system.

The Max Kade Institute organizes lectures, symposia, screenings, and performances and hosts visiting scholars in a variety of fields.  We are, in short, a resource for all things German/Central European on campus and around LA.  We work closely with other institutions at USC, including the Feuchtwanger Memorial Library, the Shoah Foundation Institute, the Casden Institute, and the Resisting Genocide Research Cluster.  We also develop scholarly and public programs with local museums and educational and cultural institutions, including Villa Aurora, the Wende Museum, the LA Goethe Institut, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, and the Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies at LACMA.

Please feel free to call or email with any queries.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Paul Lerner
Associate Professor of History
Director, Max Kade Institute
(213) 740-1653, plerner@usc.edu

Paul LernerPaul Lerner, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Institute since 2011, is a scholar of modern German-speaking Europe, specializing in European cultural and social history, Jewish history, and the history of the human sciences. He is the author of The Consuming Temple: Jews, Department Stores, and the Consumer Revolution in Germany, 1880-1940 (Cornell, 2015) and Hysterical Men: War, Psychiatry, and the Politics of Trauma in Germany, 1890-1930 (Cornell, 2003), in addition to many articles, and has co-edited two books, Jewish Masculinities: German Jews, Gender and History (Indiana, 2013) and Traumatic Pasts: History, Psychiatry, and Trauma in the Modern Age (Cambridge, 2001). Lerner has held fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), among others, and has been a visiting scholar at the Simon-Dubnow Institute in Leipzig, the Moses-Mendelsohn Center in Potsdam, the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in London, the Katz Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown.



Contact Details


Paul Lerner, Associate Professor of History

Max Kade Institute for Austrian-German-Swiss Studies

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0351