My areas of specialization include comparative and historical sociology, political sociology, and social theory. I am especially interested in the sociology of 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 many others, including the struggle for what used to be called social and industrial citizenship, the emancipation of the Jews in Europe as a paradigmatic case of struggles over civil inclusion and exclusion, the difficulties of organizing democratic publics under changing social conditions, and the tensions between cultural pluralism and the need for a common democratic culture.

My first book, Citizens and Paupers: Relief, Rights, and Race, from the Freedmen’s Bureau to Workfare (University of Chicago Press, 2007), showed how social spending policies have been important sites for political struggles over the boundaries and rights of American citizenship.

My second book, Modernity and the Jews in Western Social Thought (University of Chicago Press, 2017), investigates how Jews became a touchstone for defining modernity and national identity in French, German, and American social thought from the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries. This book brings together my interests in social theory, Jewish Studies, and comparative-historical sociology. You can read more about my research for this book in an interview by Stefanie A. Jones, “Chad Goldberg on sociology of culture, Jewish studies, and collaboration” (May 21, 2014). You can read an excerpt from the book in Public Seminar: “Have Muslims Replaced Jews as the Other of the Twenty-First Century?” (June 19, 2017).

My research has been generously supported in recent years by the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg and the European Institutes for Advanced Study (Spring 2015), the Advanced Research Collaborative at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (2013–2014), and the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study (2011–2012).