Leora Auslander

Leora AuslanderEmail: lausland@uchicago.edu
Office: Kelly 406
Office Hours: Thursdays 9-11

Leora Auslander is the Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor in Western Civilization in the College; Professor in the Departments of RDI and History, and the Associate Chair of RDI.

Intellectually engaged in both the United States and Europe, the primary national focus of my research is France, the setting of my first book, but I have found myself intrigued by research problems best treated transnationally, with a particular focus on the Atlantic World from the 17th century to the present. Cultural Revolutions: Everyday Life and Politics in Britain, North America, and France, my second book, engages that world in the early modern period, while one of my current projects, with Tom Holt, Trans-Atlantic Crossings: Everyday Race in the 20th-Century Atlantic World, has a broader scope, including West Africa, the Caribbean and Brazil.  Objects of War: The Material Culture of Conflict and Displacement, a volume co-edited with Tara Zahra, is global in reach, moving even further beyond the nation-state frame. In that context, have an abiding interest in diasporic practices, having written on both the Jewish and Black diasporas.  Conceptually, my work focuses on the intersection of material culture, everyday life, and politics. I seek to explain how and why everyday things have become catalysts for conflict, means of expressing identities and constructing selves, vehicles for dissenting opinions, and sites of unexpected state intervention. The founding Director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, my research agenda is based on the hypothesis, informed by phenomenology and feminist theory, that key to answering these questions is the close and careful study of material culture, but one that always links the concreteness of everyday goods to the abstractions of polity, society, and economy. Substantively, my most recent intellectual preoccupations have been the production and reproduction of race in the 20th and 21st century Atlantic World, the intersections of nation and religion/culture in France and Germany, and the politics of commemoration. The latter is imbricated in my commitment to the practice of collaborative knowledge production and public history.