A lecture by Paul Lerner
Sunday, October 26, 2014 @ 7:30 P.M.
Mount Zion Temple
1300 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
This event is free and open to the public.
For many Germans, the phrase "Jewish department store" would have sounded redundant during the late 19th through mid-20th centuries. This phrase triggered a whole range of responses from excitement through a collective unease that expressed itself in morbid, supernatural imagery and (fantasized and real) acts of violence. Drawing on contemporary fiction and drama, political writings, and commercial records, this talk
links the history of department stores to major themes in European Jewish history. It takes the notion of the department store as a secular temple or a "cathedral of commerce," and ties it into the "Jewishness" of the stores, and broader themes around German experiences with early mass consumption.
Paul Lerner is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Max Kade Institute for Austrian-German-Swiss Studies at USC. He teaches a wide range of courses in European history and specializes in German-Jewish history, the history of the human sciences, and the history and theory of consumer culture. Lerner is the author of Hysterical Men: War, Psychiatry and the Politics of Trauma in Germany, 1880-1930 and co-editor of Traumatic Pasts: History, Psychiatry and Trauma in the Modern Age. The current talk comes from a book that will be published by Cornell in Spring 2015.
This series is made possible by a generous gift in memory of Julia K. & Harold Segall.
Co-sponsored by the Department of History; Center for German and European Studies; the Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch; Mount Zion Temple.