Professor of European Social History, University of Chicago
Berthold Leibinger Fellow - Class of Fall 2008
Leora Auslander, professor of European social history and Jewish studies at the University of Chicago and an expert on material culture and gender in Europe, has been a consistent advocate for a culture-focused approach to writing history. She is best known for her expansive history on changing furniture style in France, Taste and Power: Furnishing Modern France (University of California Press, 1996), which illuminates the relationship among economics, politics, and culture in France from the seventeenth century to World War I. Her book Cultural Revolutions: Everyday Life and Politics in Britain, North America, and France (2008) explores the role of material culture in political change and national formation during the first democratic revolutions of the modern era. The central question that systematically drives her research agenda is explaining how and why everyday things become catalysts for conflict, means of expressing identities and constructing selves, vehicles for dissenting opinions, and sites of unexpected state intervention. Her studies have earned her fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study in 1992, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, in 1995, and a Burckhardt fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, in 2000.