Chad Alan Goldberg

About Me

I am a Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am also affiliated with European Studies, Jewish Studies, and the Mosse Program in History.

During the 2013-2014 academic year I am taking a temporary research leave from the University of Wisconsin to accept a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship at the Advanced Research Collaborative at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

My first book, Citizens and Paupers: Relief, Rights, and Race, from the Freedmen's Bureau to Workfare, shows how social spending policies have been an important site for political struggles over the boundaries and rights of American citizenship. I'm now working on a new book which brings together my interests in sociology and Jewish Studies; it compares the portrayal of Jews and the symbolism and meanings conferred upon them in French, German, and American social theory from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.

I am a member of United Faculty and Academic Staff, Local 223 of the American Federation of Teachers, because I think educational workers must organize to defend public education as a public good.

You can download my curriculum vitae here.


My areas of specialization are political sociology, comparative-historical sociology, and social theory. I'm especially interested in democratic citizenship, including the development of rights and duties over time, changing levels and forms of civic engagement and political participation, and shifting patterns of civil inclusion and exclusion. That interest intersects with lots of others, including the struggle for what used to be called "social" and "industrial" citizenship, the emancipation of the Jews in Europe and its historical repercussions, the difficulties of organizing democratic publics under changing social conditions, and the tensions between cultural pluralism and the need for a common democratic culture.


You can contact me at <cgoldber -at- ssc -dot- wisc -dot- edu>, or 608-262-2108, or write to me at this address.

During the 2013-2014 academic year you can reach me at the Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC), The Graduate Center - CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave, Room 5320, New York, NY 10016.


SURVEY OF SOCIOLOGY (Sociology 210). What is sociology? This class provides an introductory overview, including its main sub-fields, theoretical approaches, and methods.

THE JEWS, STATES, AND CITIZENSHIP (Sociology 258, cross-listed with Jewish Studies). We investigate the civil emancipation of the Jews in Europe, i.e., the process by which they acquired full and equal citizenship, from the French Revolution in 1789 to the Russian Revolution in 1917. We take a comparative-historical approach, focusing on Britain, France, Germany (which was not unified until 1871), the Austrian Empire, and Russia (a case of failed emancipation prior to 1917). The class is also meant to introduce students to some important themes and ideas in political and comparative-historical sociology, including state formation, citizenship, nationalism, ethnic conflict, and social movements.

CLASSICAL SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY (Sociology 475). This class provides an introduction to three national traditions of social theory-French, German, and American-from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, when the discipline of sociology first took shape. We examine each of these traditions through the works of key theorists who shaped it and exemplified its major concerns. The course has two main goals. The first is to investigate the nature and meaning of modernity. The second is to familiarize you with some key concepts that the classical theorists used to answer this question. For a syllabus with more information, click here.

CAPITALISM, SOCIALISM, AND DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA SINCE 1890 (Sociology 670, cross-listed with History). This course has an illustrious history: it was originally taught by the labor historian Selig Perlman and later by the emigré sociologist Hans Gerth. As we examine the historical development of capitalism, socialism, and democracy in the United States, we try to see what social and political theory have to say to American history and vice versa. The course is organized chronologically, but as it moves forward in time, we revisit some general questions that help to give the course thematic unity and coherence. These include questions about the changing and contested meanings of democracy, the relationship between capitalism and democracy, why there has been no significant socialist movement or labor party in the United States, and how the meaning and boundaries of American citizenship have changed over time.

SOCIOLOGY OF CITIZENSHIP (Sociology 875 - Special Topics). Focusing mainly on citizenship trends in North America and Western Europe, this graduate seminar concentrates on four main themes: (1) the progressive inclusion of previously marginalized or excluded groups as full citizens, and the terms of their incorporation; (2) the erosion of social rights, social citizenship, and the welfare state in the context of neoliberalism and globalization; (3) concerns about the withdrawal of citizens in recent decades from civic engagement and involvement in public life; and (4) the expansion of citizenship, i.e., the shift from single and exclusive citizenship in a nation-state to supra- or postnational citizenship, on the one hand, and dual or multiple citizenship, on the other hand. For a syllabus with more information, click here.

Academic publications



General audience publications

I have written opinion articles about collective bargaining rights (2012), Florida Governor Rick Scott's education agenda (2011), and labor law reform (2009). I also wrote an article about the struggles of educational workers in Israel (2008).

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