Kohl-Arenas, Erica

Kohl-Arenas, Erica

Erica  Kohl-Arenas
PhD, Social and Cultural Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Assistant Professor of Nonprofit Management, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy

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Areas of Expertise:
Philanthropy & Social Movements; Critical Development Studies; American Poverty; Popular Education; Participatory Research
Erica Kohl-Arenas is an Assistant Professor at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy. She earned her PhD from the Social and Cultural Studies in Education program at the University of California, Berkeley (2010), an MS in Community Development from the University of California, Davis (1999), and a BA in Sociology from Reed College (1991). While at the University of California she was a fellow with the Institute for the Study of Social Change, the Labor and Employment Research Fund of the UC Office of the President, and The Spencer Foundation. She was awarded the UC Berkeley Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award in 2008.

Kohl-Arenas is currently working on a manuscript for her book on the history of philanthropic investments in addressing migrant poverty across California’s Central Valley. Her primary research areas include studies of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, participatory community development, and the intersection of American and global poverty studies. As a publically engaged scholar-teacher Kohl-Arenas’ remains engaged in the practice of participatory development by designing and managing community-university partnerships across New York City.

Prior to her graduate studies, Kohl-Arenas worked as a popular educator and community development practitioner in a variety of settings including urban public schools, immigrant nonprofit organizations, coal mining and ‘crofting’ towns in Appalachia, Scotland, and Wales, and across southern Africa where she studied grassroots citizenship education. Kohl-Arenas’ work in communities and classrooms is inspired by an early experience working with Myles Horton and the Highlander Research and Education Center. She has also been a fellow with the Coro Foundation, The Thomas J. Watson Foundation, and the Sustainable Communities Leadership Program.
Courses Taught:
  • The Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management
  • Participatory Community Development
  • Qualitative Research Design Seminar
Recent Publications:
Privatized Empowerment: the politics of philanthropy and migrant poverty is currently under review at a major university press

Kohl-Arenas, E, “Governing Poverty Amidst Plenty: Participatory Development and Private Philanthropy,” Geography Compass, 5, 11 (2011): 811–824

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