Professor of Sociology


  • Website:
  • Role:

  • Position:

    • Professor of Sociology
    • Associate Dean for Research
    • Co-Director, Food Systems Institute for Research, Engagement and Learning
    • Engagement and Extension Food Systems Specialist
  • Department:

    • CLA Dean's Office and Sociology
  • Education:

    • Ph.D. in Sociology, Iowa State University
  • Curriculum Vitae:


Dr. Carolan is the Co-Director of the Food Systems Institute for Research, Engagement and Learning, Professor of Sociology, Food Systems Specialist for the Office of Engagement and Extension, and Associate Dean of Research for the College of Liberal Arts. Other appointments include: Distinguished Fulbright Research Chair, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada; Professor of Political Science (Status-Only), University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Visiting Professor, Ruralis Research Institute, Trondheim, Norway; and Research Affiliate, Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. He has published over 250 peer review articles and chapters. His areas of expertise include environmental and agricultural law and policy, environmental sociology, the sociology of food systems and agriculture, economic sociology, and the sociology of technology and scientific knowledge. He recently published the following books: A Sociological Look at Biofuels: Understanding the Past/Prospects for the Future (2010); Decentering Biotechnology: Assemblages Built and Assemblages Masked (2010); Embodied Food Politics (2011); The Real Cost of Cheap Food (2011; second edition 2018); The Sociology of Food and Agriculture (2012 1st ed/2016 2nd ed); Reclaiming Food Security (2013); Cheaponomics: The High Cost of Low Prices (2014); Food Utopias: Reimagining Citizenship, Ethics and Community (2015 with Paul Stock and Chris Rosin); Biological Economies: Experimentation and the Politics of Agrifood Frontiers (2016; with Richard LeHeron, Hugh Campbell, and Nick Lewis); No One Eats Alone: Food as Social Enterprise (2017); The Food Sharing Revolution:How Start-Ups, Pop-Ups, and Co-Ops are Changing the Way We Eat (2018); Society and the Environment: Pragmatic Solutions to Ecological Issues (2013 1st ed/2016 2nd ed, 2020 3rd ed); and A Decent Meal: Building Empathy in a Divided America (2021).  Dr. Carolan is also Co-Editor for the Journal of Rural Studies, Co-Editor for the British Food Journal, and Associate Editor for the journal Sustainability.

Additionally, Dr. Carolan regularly writes pieces for public audiences, as he works to bridge the town-gown divide.  His pieces regularly appear in such outlets as The Conversation, Bloomberg, Market Watch, Mental Floss, Business Insider, Alternet, World Economic Forum, Houston Chronicle, Bangor Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Post, Popular Science, The Smithsonian Magazine, Salon, The Independent, Market Watch,, and New Food Economy(some of these articles have registered over 150,000 reads!).  He also routinely makes radio and television appearances around the world, having been featured on the popular CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Cooperation) program Ideas, NPR, Radio New Zealand, and TVNZ-One (TV New Zealand).