Dorothy Rosenberg Prize Recipients
The Dorothy Rosenberg Prize for the history of the Jewish diaspora recognizes the most distinguished work of scholarship on the history of the Jewish diaspora published in English during the previous calendar year. Eligibility will otherwise be defined quite broadly, to include books on any period and from any disciplinary field that incorporates a historical perspective. In making its selection, the prize committee will pay particular attention to depth of research, methodological innovation, conceptual originality and literary excellence.
2016 Rosenberg Prize
Paul Lerner, Univ. of Southern California
The Consuming Temple: Jews, Department Stores, and the Consumer Revolution in Germany, 1880–1940 (Cornell Univ. Press)
Paul Lerner’s book is a model of interdisciplinary scholarship, combining literary and visual materials along with psychology and economic history to explore the role of Jewish-owned department stores in German culture. As his study reveals, these “temples” of consumption transformed consumerism in Germany while also becoming a focus for anxiety about the rising forces of modernization and urbanization. In telling this story, Lerner unpacks the department store experience to reveal how it both reflected and shaped aspects of German culture as diverse as gender relations, crime, and aesthetics. The committee was impressed with Lerner’s deep research, rich source base, and lucid prose. His book stands out as one that makes a significant contribution not only to Jewish diaspora history but also to German studies and the history of consumption.