Dr. Pradyumna (Paul) Karan, long-time University of Kentucky professor of geography and Japanese Studies, passed away on July 19, 2018. Dr. Karan was a highly regarded and respected professor and colleague. In the words of Anne Dean Dotson, Senior Acqusitions Editor at the University Press of Kentucky, “He will be missed dearly . . . . He was a special, patient soul, and his familiar chuckle will never be forgotten.”
Born in India in 1930, growing up with the importance of education stressed by his parents, Dr. Karan studied economics and geography at Banaras Hindu University, and later got his PhD from Indiana University. Hired in 1956, Dr. Karan was one of the first international faculty members in UK’s history. Over his sixty-year career, he was a professor of human geography, director of Indian Studies, taught in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and was heavily involved with the UK Japan Studies program. Dr. Karan traveled extensively to Japan, China, and India for research and speaking engagements. He also taught at several universities across the United States, Europe, Russia, Japan, and India.
Dr. Karan worked extensively to understand the connections between economic development and the environment, particularly in India, Japan, and the Himalayan states. He conducted research that aimed at reconstructing and rebuilding in Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011, among other work focused on simultaneously preserving local cultures and the environment.
The University Press of Kentucky is privileged to have published a number of Dr. Karan’s books over the course of his career. In honor of this esteemed educator, here are some of his works:
Japan in the 21st Century explores the crucial political, economic, demographics, and environmental challenges facing the nation now and moving forward. Karan highlights challenges that will face Japan in the coming years, and offers insights into how these problems might be addressed.
Japan in the Bluegrass, edited by Karan, examines the regional and local impacts of the globalization of Japanese business in the United States. Particularly focusing on the impact of Toyota in Kentucky, these essays explore beyond politics and economics, delving into the social, cultural, and environmental effects of Japanese investment in Kentucky.
The Japanese City, edited by Karan and Kristin Stapleton, is a collection of essays aimed at addressing the issue of inner-city violence in American cities, particularly through examination of the city of Tokyo. Factors, such as urban landscape, spatial mixing of social classes in the city, and environmental pollution, are utilized in comparisons between Tokyo and the American city. This work offers a comprehensive look at the contemporary Japanese city.
Written by Cotton Mather, Paul Karan, and Shigeru Iijima, Japanese Landscapes: Where Land and Culture Merge is a visual guide for Japanese landscapes. The authors look at the complex interaction of culture, time, and space in the evolution of landscapes in Japan. By examining everything from home gardens to roadside shoulders, this work offers a unified analysis of the Japanese landscape.
Local Environmental Movements, edited by Karan and Unryu Suganuma, examines how grassroots organizations have worked to promote sustainable development in the face of defeatist attitudes towards environment crises. Drawing on a series of case studies, this work illustrates how local groups in both Japan and the United States are working for environmental protection and cultural preservation.
Edited by Karan and Shanmugam P. Subbiah, The Indian Ocean Tsunami analyses the aftermath of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. Focusing on the response and recovery to this tragedy, this collection studies the environment, economic, and political effects of the tsunami.
Japan after 3/11, edited by Karan and Unryu Suganuma, considers the complex economic, physical, and social impacts of the 2011 earthquake that triggered a tsunami and the Fukushima meltdown. This collection includes strategies for reclamation and rebuilding, interviews with victims which explore the social implications of the disaster, and much more to serve as an invaluable guide to the planning and implementation of reconstruction.