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Erica Lehrer, PhD

Professor, History

Erica Lehrer, PhD

Erica Lehrer is a sociocultural anthropologist and curator, and presently Professor in the Departments of History and Sociology-Anthropology at Concordia. She is also Founding Director of the university's Curating and Public Scholarship Lab (CaPSL). From 2007-2017 She held the Canada Research Chair in Museum and Heritage Studies, and she currently directs the 7-year, $2.5 million international team project Thinking Through the Museum (TTTM): A Partnership Approach to Curating Difficult Knowledge in Public (2021-2028), funded by SSHRC, the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.


B.A. Grinnell College (1992); M.A., Ph.D. (Socio-cultural Anthropology) and Certificate in Museum Studies, University of Michigan (2005).

Selected Publications

Monographs & edited volumes

Jewish Poland Revisited: Heritage Tourism in Unquiet Places, an ethnographic monograph that explores the cultural, social, and political stakes and stakeholders in Poland’s post-Communist Jewish heritage tourist industry. (University of Indiana Press, 2013).

Curatorial Dreams: Critics Imagine Exhibitions, an edited volume with Shelley Ruth Butler that considers the theoretical and methodological potential of having critics of museology propose exhibitions that respond to their own critiques. (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2016).

Jewish Space in Contemporary Poland, an edited volume with Michael Meng that examines the issues of nostalgia, space, and pluralism in post-Communist Poland. (Indiana University Press, 2014).

Curating Difficult Knowledge: Violent Pasts in Public Places, an edited volume with Cynthia Milton and Monica Patterson that investigates organized, aesthetic interventions into difficult public memory in the form of exhibitions, monuments, and heritage preservation. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

Exhibition catalogs

Lucky Jews / Na szczęście to Żyd. (249 pgs). Ha!art Press, Krakow, 2014.

Recent academic articles & chapters

“Making space for Jewish culture in Polish ‘folk’ and ‘ethnographic’ museums: Curating social diversity after ethnic cleansing.” (with Monika Murzyn-Kupisz). (Ed.) Conal Macarthy, Museum Worlds special issue: Festschrift for Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, 2019, pp. 82-108.

“Arts of Witness or Awkward Objects? Vernacular art as a source base for ‘bystander’ Holocaust memory in Poland” (with Roma Sendyka). Special issue of Holocaust Studies: Disputed Holocaust Memory in Poland. (Eds.) Larry Ray and Sławomir Kapralski.” Vol. 25, Issue 3, 2019, pp. 300-328.

“Public pedagogy and transnational, transcultural museums.” Poland and Polin: New Interpretations in Polish-Jewish Studies. (Eds.) Irena Grudzinska-Gross and Iwa Nawrocki. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2016. Pgs. 197-218.

“Cur(at)ing History: New Genre Art Interventions and the Polish-Jewish Past” (with Magdalena Waligórska). East European Politics, Societies, and Cultures, vol. 27 no. 3, August 2013: 510-544.

“Relocating Auschwitz: Affective Relations in the Jewish-German-Polish Troika.” In: Germany, Poland and Postmemorial Relations: In Search of a Livable Past. (Eds.) Kristin Kopp and Joanna Nizynska, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012: 213-238.

“Can there be a Conciliatory Heritage?” International Journal of Heritage Studies, Vol. 16 (4-5), July-September, 2010: 269-288.


“Thinking Through the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.” American Quarterly. Volume 67, Number 4. December 2015. Pages 1195-1216.

Exhibition Reviews

“Making #Heritage Great Again.” Political Critique ( November 27, 2017.

“Curating Polish Folk.” Exhibit review.
Political Critique ( November 18, 2016.

“Thinking Through the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.” Museum review.
American Quarterly. Volume 67, Number 4. December 2015. Pgs. 1195-1216.

“Czarno-Bialy Sprawiedliwy.” (“Black and White Righteous.”) Exhibition review: “The Righteous honoured in Krakow. Motives, attitudes, message.”
Krytyka Polityczna. February 11, 2014.

Exhibitions & Installations (recent)

Terribly Close: Polish Vernacular Artists Face the Holocaust. Kraków Ethnographic Museum, Poland. Co-curated exhibition. December 1, 2018-March 31, 2019.

A Single Point Perspective / Punkt Zbieżny
. Photographs by Soliman Lawrence, interviews by Stephanie Rowden. Galicia Museum, Kraków, Poland. June 26th –November 15, 2016

Souvenir, Talisman, Toy (Zabawka, Pamiątka, Talizman)
. Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum, Kraków, Poland. June-July, 2013.

odpowiedz…please respond. With graphic designer Hannah Smotrich & sound artist Stephanie Rowden. 18th annual Festival of Jewish Culture. Krakow, Poland. July 1-6, 2008.


Difficult Questions in Polish-Jewish Dialogue (Translated from Polish to English). (Eds) Kozlowski, Maciej, Andrzej Folwarczny, and Michal Bilewicz,  Warsaw, Poland, 2006: Jacek Santorski & Co.


Exhibitions & Installations (recent)

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