Ken Kolb is a professor and the chair of the Sociology Department at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Ever since returning from the Peace Corps in Paraguay to finish his Ph.D. in sociology, he has spent the past 20 years conducting community-based research by spending time with neighborhood groups and talking to people one-on-one. As an ethnographer seeking to facilitate social change, Kolb documents the everyday realities of struggling communities so that he can equip them with the data they need to convince their policymakers to take their complaints seriously. His most recent book, Retail Inequality: Reframing the Food Desert Debate, analyzes how institutionally racist infrastructure policies of the past created the disparities within our food systems today. In it, he argues that simply adding new grocery stores is not enough. Improving food access requires systemic change. Ken and his team recently published Racial Displacement in Greenville, SC: An Exploration of Historic and Current Population Shifts in the City of Greenville and Surrounding Greenville County. Follow Ken and his work on LinkedIn.
Recent coverage of Ken Kolb’s work:
“The Cost of Unity” in Greenville News
“Who gets to be ‘revitalized’ in Greenville? How and why Furman studied racial displacement” op-ed published in Greenville Online
“Greenville’s Black communities disappearing as new money flows in” in The Post and Courier
“Greenville’s downtown rebirth is coming at a high price for historically Black neighborhoods” on South Carolina Public Radio