Professor, Sociology; Chair, Sociology
Ken Kolb is the author of Retail Inequality: Reframing the Food Desert Debate, which was a finalist for a 2023 James Beard Foundation book award in the category of “food issues and advocacy” and was the winner of the 2023 book prize awarded by the Association for the Study of Food and Society.
Ever since returning from the Peace Corps to finish his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ken Kolb has spent the past 20 years conducting community-based research. He analyzes social problems with the goal of proposing practical solutions that harness readily available resources.
By conducting in-depth interviews and spending time with neighborhood groups, Kolb seeks to empower the people he studies by providing them with the data they need to convince policymakers to take their complaints seriously.
Ken Kolb is an expert on social inequality, community development, and pragmatic solutions to persistent social problems.
He is currently conducting research for his next book about the Mississippi River, shipping, and the Port of New Orleans
Honors & Awards
- 2023, Finalist, James Beard Foundation Nonfiction Book Award
- 2023, Winner, Book Prize, Association for the Study of Food and Society
- 2023, Honorable Mention, Book Award, American Sociological Association's Section on Consumers and Consumption
- 2015, Winner, Book Award, American Sociological Association's Section on Social Psychology
- Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- M.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- B.A., Bates College
- Community and Urban Development
- Work and Occupations
- Social Problems
- 2024 (forthcoming), “Professions as Closed-Networks: Mississippi River Pilots and Mead’s Conceptualization of Mind.” Studies in Symbolic Interaction 57.
- 2022, Retail Inequality: Reframing the Food Desert Debate. University of California Press
- 2014, Moral Wages: Emotional Dilemmas of Victim Advocacy and Counseling. University of California Press
Additional Professional Activity
- Fellow, Aspen Institute, Food Leaders Fellowship
- Chair, South Carolina Chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network
- Member, Food Tank Academic Working Group