• Benjamin_AM2013

    Watch ACLS Fellow Ruha Benjamin present her research at the 2013 annual meeting.

  • AM2013 Public Fellows

    ACLS Public Fellows with Nicole A. Stahlmann, former director of fellowships (third from right), and Program Officer John Paul Christy 

  • Bookcase_new

    Browse recent titles by ACLS fellows on Pinterest.

Paul F. Lerner F'11

Paul F. Lerner

Associate Professor
University of Southern California
last updated: 02/06/13

ACLS Fellowship Program 2011
Associate Professor
Department: History
University of Southern California
Consuming Encounters: Jews, Department Stores, and Early Mass Consumption in Germany, 1880-1940

Department stores, which began appearing in German cities and towns in the 1880s, revolutionized daily life, leisure, and commerce. The great majority of these stores, perhaps as many as eighty percent, were owned by Jewish families, but beyond these demographic realities, writers, cultural critics, political agitators, and consumers associated department stores with Jews in a variety of ways. This project investigates the ways in which “Jewishness” was inscribed onto the department store and early mass consumer society in Germany. Using political, literary, and commercial sources, it treats department stores as the setting for Germans’ explosive encounters with nascent mass consumerism and projections about Jewish power over German women and the German economy.