Joshua Bloom

Dean's Fellow in Social Research

Contact Information

Email    joshuabloom@ucla.edu
Office  Haines Hall 111
I am interested in the dynamics by which innovative forms of social practice generate novel sources of power.

My studies of social movements, race, and labor, have been published in American Sociological Review and other venues. I am principal author of Black against Empire: the History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (California 2013), which won the 2014 American Book Award, and co-editor of Working for Justice: the LA Model of Organizing and Advocacy (Cornell 2010).


  Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr.

  Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party.

  University of California Press. 2013.


“As important as the Black Panthers were to the evolution of black power, the African American freedom struggle, and, indeed, the sixties as a whole, scholarship on the group has been surprisingly thin and all too often polemical. Certainly no definitive scholarly account of the Panthers has been produced to date, or rather had been produced to date. Bloom and Martin can now lay claim to that honor. This is, by a wide margin, the most detailed, analytically sophisticated, and balanced account of the organization yet written. Anyone who hopes to understand the group and its impact on American culture and politics will need to read this book.”

      —Doug McAdam, Stanford

"Black against Empire is a masterful work.... Easily the most impressive, sweeping, and substantive scholarly history of the Black Panther Party."

     —Journal of American History

“In a stunning historical account, Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin map the complex trajectory of the ideology and practice of the Black Panther Party. Going beyond merely chronicling ‘what happened,’ the authors situate the rise and fall of the Panthers within the prevailing, and constantly shifting, political climate at home and abroad. Much has been written about the Party, but Black Against Empire is the definitive history of the Panthers—one that helps us rethink the very meaning of a revolutionary movement.”

     —Michael Omi, Berkeley

“An account that should be called, above everything else, ‘definitive.’”


“This meticulously researched history explores the combination of revolutionary commitment and historical circumstance that enabled the emergence of the Black Panther Party. Because they do not shy away from the contradictions that animated this movement, Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin pose crucial questions about the genesis, rise, and decline of the BPP that are as relevant to young generations of activists as they are to those who came of age during that era.”

     —Angela Y. Davis, University of California

“A comprehensive history.”

     —New Yorker

“This is the book we’ve all been waiting for: the first complete history of the Black Panther Party, devoid of the hype, the nonsense, the one-dimensional heroes and villains, the myths, or the tunnel vision that has limited scholarly and popular treatments across the ideological spectrum. Bloom and Martin’s riveting, nuanced, and highly original account revises our understanding of the party’s size, scope, ideology, and political complexity, and offers the most compelling explanations for its ebbs and flows and ultimate demise. Moreover, they reveal with spectacular clarity that the Party’s primary target was not just police brutality or urban poverty or white supremacy but U.S. Empire in all of its manifestations.”

     —Robin D. G. Kelley, UCLA

“Unique ... in the scope and depth of its scholarship.”

     —Los Angeles Times Book Review

“This is the definitive history of one of the great revolutionary organizations in the history of this country…. Let us learn deep democratic lessons and strong anti-imperial conclusions from this magisterial book!”

     —Cornel West, Princeton

“The first comprehensive history of the party.”

     —London Review of Books

“An essential, deeply researched, and insightful study.”

     —Leon F. Litwack, President, Organization of American Historians

“Bloom and Martin bring to light an important chapter in American history. They carefully mine the archival data to give us an account of the rise of the Black Panther Party, of its successes and the shoals of American politics on which it fractured. In the process they give full credit to the strategic agency of the remarkable revolutionaries at the center of the story.”

     —Frances Fox Piven, President, American Sociological Association


  Ruth Milkman, Joshua Bloom, and Victor Narro, editors.

  Working for Justice: The L.A. Model of Organizing and Advocacy.

  Cornell University Press. 2010.


“Insightful .... The authors are 'giving voice' to their subjects in a manner which was outlined by the Chicago School's understanding of early urban based sociological research in the 1930s."


"Working for Justice brings to light the struggles, the strategies, and the unlikely triumphs of organizations on the cutting edge of low-wage worker organizing in Los Angeles, the epicenter of labor's resurgence in the United States today. The book offers insights that can be found nowhere else and should be read eagerly by labor leaders and organizers, academics in fields from political science to sociology to law, and all others who seek a deeper understanding of how social change really happens."

     —Jennifer Gordon, Fordham Law

“The research in Working for Justice will be of considerable interest for scholars exploring ways in which unions are confronting new challenges in the workplace…. The chapters provide overwhelming evidence that to successfully organize low-wage service workers, issues of immigration and ethnic/racial divisions must be addressed by the union…. These studies also describe in detail the critical role that workers’ centers and other nonunion organizations play in successfully overcoming the challenges faced by low-wage service workers.”

     —American Journal of Sociology

"Critical and compelling…. Chapter 9 by Joshua Bloom is especially notable."

     —Social Forces

"Working for Justice serves both to refine and expand our knowledge of employee representation in Los Angeles . . . . It offers a nuanced study of specific instances in which unions and advocacy groups have sought to organize low-wage workers . . . . interweaving numerous threads of commonalities across the campaigns and organizing efforts to create a portrait of the intricate links between union and nonunion worker groups."

     —ILR Review

"The essays in this volume offer us not only an informative account of some of the most vibrant and creative organizing campaigns to have emerged in recent years; they may also provide a glimpse of labor's future."

     —Labor/Le Travail

"If there is to be a paradigm shift toward public sociology, Working for Justice could serve as the exemplar. Community leaders and activists helped shape the questions that scholars pursued, provided access academics can rarely achieve, reviewed drafts and offered feedback, and in the process enriched scholarship and advanced theory. These are cutting-edge studies of little-known campaigns based on the Los Angeles model of intimate connections between unions and worker centers."

     —Dan Clawson, UMass Amherst