Paul Lerner

Professor of History
Pronouns He / Him / His Email Office SOS 276 Office Phone (213) 740-1653

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • USC-Max Kade Institute for Austrian-German-Swiss Studies, Director


  • Ph.D. History, Columbia University, 5/1996
  • B.A. History, University of Chicago, 6/1988
    • Charles W. and Sally Rothfield Fellow, Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania
    • 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
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Professor Lerner is a Historian of Modern
    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.” He is currently working on several projects concerning German-speaking émigrés from Nazi-controlled Europe, including a study of Austrian Jews and their impact on American consumer culture in the 1950s and beyond.

    Lerner’s books can be found at:


    Research Keywords

    Modern German and Central European History, European-Jewish history, History of Human Sciences/Psychiatry, Fascism

  • Book

    • 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 Chapters

    • 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.
    • Blog,,
    • 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 Humboldt 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
  • 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.,