Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.