Leora Auslander will be coming to speak in the Seminar in Cultural History Wednesday, January 20, 2010, on “Citizenship and Style: Interwar French and German Homes.”

Dr. Auslander received her A.B. from the University of Michigan, A.M. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from Brown University in History. Currently, Dr. Auslander is Professor in the History Department and the Committee on Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago and a Visiting Professor at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. She was Founding Director for the Center of Gender Studies at the University of Chicago from 1996 to 1999. In the summer of 2009, Professor Auslander was the Senior Research Fellow at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture at the Justus Liebig University, Giessen and in 1995 visiting professor at the Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte, Göttingen. She was the Berthold Leibinger Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in Fall 2008 and in 2000 received the Burkhardt Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (taken 2002-3). She has received numerous other honors and fellowships from institutions such as the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford and School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.

Just last year Professor Auslander published Cultural Revolutions: Everyday Life and Politics in Britain, North America, and France (Berg Press, 2008 and University of California Press, 2009) and in 1996, Taste and Power: Furnishing Modern France, (University of California Press, 1996). She is currently working on two book projects: Strangers at Home: Jewish Parisians and Berliners in the Twentieth Century and, Conundrums of Commemoration. She has published numerous articles and essays, some of the most recent including, “The Boundaries of Jewishness or when is a Cultural Practice Jewish?” in Jewish Social Studies (Spring 2009); “Accomodation, Resistance, and Eigensinn: Evolués and Sapeurs between Africa and Europe,” in Alltag, Erfahurng, Eigenssin: Historisch-Anthropologische Erkundungen, edited by Belinda Davis and Michael Wildt (Campus Verlag, 2008); and “Gender at the Intersection of the Disciplines,” in Cahiers Parisiens/Parisian Notebooks (2006). In the Spring of 2008, she curated “Jewish Life in Europe: the Harry Sondheim Collection” for the Joseph Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago.

In “Citizenship and Style: Interwar French and German Homes” Prof. Auslander notes that citizenship law, material dwellings, and the psychic and semiotic attributes of home are most often the object of separate studies, by distinct disciplines. Jurists, legal and political historians investigate citizenship law. Material dwellings are the purview of architectural and design historians as well as archeologists and sociologists, while philosophers, anthropologists, and psychologists have most often taken on deciphering homes’ meanings. In her lecture, Professor Auslander will make the case that not only is it productive to traverse those divides, but that it can best be done through transnational, comparative analysis. French nationalism is usually associated with the universalism of the Enlightenment and German with particularism of Romanticism, leading one to expect a parallel pattern in their taste in furnishings. Her research on the domestic interiors of Berliners and Parisians in the interwar period has shown, however, that while the French were strongly national in their taste in the decorative arts, their German contemporaries were as definitively internationalist. Her lecture will explain this apparent paradox.

Please join us in the Lecture Hall at 38 West 86th Street, between Columbus Ave and Central Park West, at 545pm for a light reception before the talk.