Rudi grew up in the rural midwest of Michigan and Wisconsin, near the towns of Milan and East Troy. He graduated from Columbia University with a double major in History and Sociology in 2009. He then attended Cambridge University, Clare College, as a Kellett Fellow, where he completed an Mphil in Economic and Social History. 

He is currently finishing a dissertation titled "Reconstructing Global Capitalism: Class, Corporations and the Rise of Welfare States, 1870-1930" 

In the spring of 2015 he was a Visiting Research Fellow at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. 

His interests are in the social history and politics of inequalities, extending across the intersections of racism, gender, and class formation.