Rhomberg

Chris Rhomberg

Associate Professor of Sociology, Fordham University
Areas of Expertise:
  • Cities & Regions
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Jobs & Workers
  • Unions & the Labor Movement

Connect with Chris

About Chris

Rhomberg’s research and teaching at Fordham focuses on labor and urban community in the United States and in historical and contemporary contexts. He has studied how social movements interact with urban politics, how seemingly non-ideological “civic” issues can articulate group identities like race, how law has increasingly constrained workers’ rights to act collectively, and how labor conflicts at the workplace can extend out into the local community. 

Rhomberg currently serves on an advisory board for the Puffin Foundation, a progressive philanthropic foundation that supports the arts, journalism and democratic citizenship, and serves as an active member of the National Writers Union. In addition, Rhomberg teaches service-integrated courses in which students complete internships with community organizations in the Bronx, including the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, Sistas and Brothas United (a youth organizing project of the NWBCCC), and Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA), a tenants organizing group.

Podcast

Publications

No There There: Race, Class and Political Community in Oakland (University of California Press, 2004).

Traces the legacy of three successive yet radically different protest waves in Oakland, California, in the 20th century: the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, labor insurgency culminating in a general strike in the '40s, and the civil rights and black power movements of the '60s.

"Class, Race and Urban Politics: The 1920s Ku Klux Klan Movement in the United States" Political Power and Social Theory 17 (2005): 3-34.

Analyzes the 1920s Ku Klux Klan movement in several cities in the Northern and Western U.S., in order to explain its surprising short-term political success and its long-term impact on the making of a white American middle class.

"The Return of Judicial Repression: What Has Happened to the Strike?" The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics 10, no. 1 (2012): 1540-8884.

Analysis of how public policy and the evolution of labor law have undermined the right to strike in the U.S., leading to a return to a pre-New Deal era of what historians describe as the “judicial repression” of workers’ rights to organize and act collectively. 

The Broken Table: The Detroit Newspaper Strike and the State of American Labor (Russell Sage Foundation, 2012).

Analyzes a detailed study of one of the largest and longest strikes of the last several decades in the U.S. Discusses the forces leading to the breakdown of collective bargaining, the spread of labor conflict beyond the firm and into the community, and the transformation of the strike from an economic tactic and protected legal right to a more high-risk protest in defense of the principle of unionism.

"The Runaway Production Complex? The Film Industry as a Driver of Urban Economic Revitalization in the United States" (with Heather Gautney). City and Community 14, no. 3 (2015): 262-285.

Analyzes the rush to attract “creative” industries in American cities that overlooks the challenges to building the infrastructure and workforce development for urban cultural industries, the threat of “low-road” conditions for creative workers, and the importance of labor market regulation for successful growth.

In the News

Chris Rhomberg's research on wage protests discussed in Joseph PisaniChris Rhomberg, "Fast-Food Protesters Cuffed at Higher Pay Rallies," Associated Press, September 5, 2014.
Chris Rhomberg's research on urban development in Oakland discussed in Claire ZillmanChris Rhomberg, "Is This City the Next Brooklyn? It'd Rather Not Be.," Fortune, October 17, 2014.
Chris Rhomberg quoted on post-recession pay raises, "TJX Follows Wal-Mart Minimum Wage Hike: Will Retail Industry Fall in Line?" Christian Science Monitor, February 27, 2015.
Chris Rhomberg's research on Detroit Free Press strikes discussed in Craig LeMoultChris Rhomberg, "Boston Globe Delivery Fiasco May Be Bad, But It Could Be a Lot Worse," WGBH News, January 5, 2016.
Guest to discuss his research on WGN-AM 720, Chris Rhomberg, September 11, 2012.
Guest to discuss his research on WCSX-FM 94.7, WMGC-FM 105.1, and WRIF-FM 101, Chris Rhomberg, August 26, 2012.
Guest to discuss job strikes on National Public Radio, Chris Rhomberg, September 10, 2012.
"America Would Be Better Off With More Strikes," Chris Rhomberg, CNN, September 10, 2012.
"We Forgot to End Poverty," Chris Rhomberg, In These Times, December 25, 2014.
"A Turning Point for Chinese Workers?," Chris Rhomberg, In These Times, April 2, 2015.