Tag Archives: India

Remembering Dr. Paul Karan

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.”

Karan

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:

Karan book 1

 

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.

 

 

 

Karan book 2

 

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.

 

 

 

Karan book 3

 

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.

 

 

Karan book 4

 

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.

 

 

Karan book 5

 

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.

 

Karan book 6

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.

 

 

 

 

Karan book 7

 

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.

 

It’s Earth Day Eve!

In a world filled with technology and innovation, it is so easy to get swept up in the motion of life. Fortunately for the world, Earth Day comes around every April to remind us where we came from and the primitive nature that this world once began with. One woman has kept her roots (pun intended) in tact over the years, becoming one of the most successful and influential activists in the field of agriculture. Of course I’m talking about Vandana Shiva, whose groundbreaking research has exposed the destructive effects of monocultures and commercial agriculture and revealed the interrelationships among ecology, gender, and poverty.

To celebrate Earth Day this year and the importance of agriculture in our lives, we have prepared an excerpt from The Vandana Shiva Reader, which how Shiva’s profound understanding of both the perils and potential of our interconnected world calls upon citizens of all nations to renew their commitment to love and care for soil, seeds, and people:

In 1984, a number of tragic events took place in India. In June, the Golden Temple was attacked because it was harboring extremists. In October, Indira Gandhi was assassinated. And in December, a terrible industrial disaster took place in Bhopal when Union Carbine’s pesticide plant leaked a toxic gas. Thirty thousand people died in the terrorism in Punjab, and thirty thousand people have died in the “industrial terrorism” of Bhopal. This is equivalent to twelve 9/11s. I was forced to sit up and ask why agriculture had become like war. Why did the “Green Revolution,” which had received the Nobel Peace Prize, breed extremism and terrorism in Punjab? This questioning led to my books The Violence of the Green Revolution and Monocultures of the Mind. Blindness to diversity and self-organization in nature and society was clearly a basic problem in the mechanistic, Cartesian industrial paradigm. And this blindness led to false claims that industrial monocultures in forestry, farming, fisheries, and animal husbandry produced more food and were necessary to alleviate hunger and poverty. On the contrary, monocultures produce less and use more inputs, thus destroying the environment and impoverishing people.

In 1987, the Dag Hammarjold Foundation organized a meeting on biotechnology in Geneva called Laws of Life. I was invited because of my book on the Green Revolution. At the conference, the biotech industry laid out its plans—to patent life; to genetically engineer seeds, crops, and life-forms; and to get full freedom to trade through the GATT negotiations, which finally led to the WTO. This led to my focus on intellectual property rights, free trade, globalization—and to a life dedicated to saving seeds and promoting organic farming as an alternative to a world dictated and controlled by corporations.

Having dedicated my life to the defense of the intrinsic worth of all species, the idea of life-forms, seeds, and biodiversity being reduced to corporate inventions and hence corporate property was abhorrent to me. Further, if seeds become “intellectual property,” saving and sharing seeds become intellectual property theft. Our highest duty, to save seeds, becomes a criminal act. The legalizing of the criminal act of owning and monopolizing life through patents on seeds and plants was morally and ethically unacceptable to me. So I started Navdanya, a movement that promotes biodiversity conservation and seed saving and seed sharing among farmers. Navdanya has created more than twenty community “seed banks” through which seeds are saved and freely exchanged among our three hundred thousand members.

Through our saving of heritage seeds, we have brought back “forgotten foods” like jhangora (barnyard millet), ragi (finger millet), marsha (amaranth), naurangi dal, and gahat dal. Not only are these crops more nutritious than the globally traded commodities, but they are also more resource prudent, requiring only two hundred to three hundred millimeters of rain compared to the twenty-five hundred millimeters needed for chemical rice farming. Millets could increase food production four hundred fold using the same amount of limited water. These forgotten foods are the foods of the future. Farmers’ seeds are the seeds of the future.
In addition to The Vandana Shiva Reader, Shiva has just recently published two new books:

Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of Global Food Supply – In this book, Shiva explores the devastating effects of commercial agriculture and genetic engineering on the food we eat, the farmers who grow it, and the soil that sustains it. This prescient critique and call to action covers some of the most pressing topics of this ongoing dialogue, from the destruction of local food cultures and the privatization of plant life, to unsustainable industrial fish farming and safety concerns about corporately engineered foods.

 

The Violence of the Green Revolution: Third World Agriculture, Ecology, and Politics – The Green Revolution has been heralded as a political and technological achievement—unprecedented in human history. Yet in the decades that have followed it, this supposedly nonviolent revolution has left lands ravaged by violence and ecological scarcity. A dedicated empiricist, Shiva takes a magnifying glass to the effects of the Green Revolution in India, examining the devastating effects of monoculture and commercial agriculture and revealing the nuanced relationship between ecological destruction and poverty. In this classic work, the influential activist and scholar also looks to the future as she examines new developments in gene technology.

For more information on The Vandana Shiva Reader, click here!

 

Celebrate Earth Day and the Culture of the Land

Springtime is here, and that brings Earth Day- one of our favorite holidays around the office! Whether you celebrate by planting a tree or garden, taking a walk, turning out the lights for an hour or two, or just recommitting yourself to doing all the little things you can to help preserve our planet’s ecosystems, The University Press of Kentucky has some great books that can inspire your Earth-love.

The following books come from our Culture of the Land series, edited by Norman Wirzba, and is devoted to the exploration and articulation of a new agrarianism that considers the health of habitats and human communities together. Far from being a naive call to return to the land, the books show how agrarian insights and responsibilities can be worked out in diverse fields of learning and living: history, politics, economics, literature, philosophy, urban planning, education, and public policy. Agrarianism is a comprehensive worldview that, unlike other forms of environmentalism that often presuppose an antagonistic relationship between wilderness and civilization, appreciates the intimate and practical connections that exist between humans and the earth.

A full listing of the titles in the Culture of the Land series can be found here.

Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher documents Kirschenmann’s evolution and his lifelong contributions to the new agrarianism in a collection of his greatest writings on farming, philosophy, and sustainability.

“Fred Kirschenmann may not be as well known as Wendell Berry or Wes Jackson, America’s other indispensable farmer-philosophers, but the publication of this superb collection of essays should fix that. These essays make clear to all what some of us have long known: that Fred is one of the wisest, sanest, most practical, and most trusted voices in the movement to reform the American food system.”–Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

In From the Farm to the Table, over forty farm families from America’s heartland detail the practices and values that relate to their land, work, and communities. Their stories reveal that those who make their living in agriculture–despite stereotypes of provincialism perpetuated by the media–are savvy to the influence of world politics on local issues.

“Rural America is not somehow ‘behind us,’ a part of a past that is no longer central to our lives. For all of us, Holthaus shows, the thinking of rural people is relevant to the well-being of the nation and far more complex than we have realized. This book provides fresh insight into what is going on in the rural countryside and what farmers themselves have thought about those changes.” –Donald Worster, author of Nature’s Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas

Coming in Fall 2011:

The costs of industrial agriculture are astonishing in terms of damage to the environment, human health, animal suffering, and social equity, and the situation demands that we expand our ecological imagination to meet this crisis. In response to growing dissatisfaction with the existing food system, farmers and consumers are creating alternate models of production and consumption that are both sustainable and equitable. Growing Stories from India demonstrates that conventional agribusiness is only one of many options and engages the work of modern agrarian luminaries to explore how alternative agricultural methods can be implemented.

“This book is highly significant for its stunning cross-cultural leaps that work. Sanford’s call to environmentalists to turn their minds from wilderness to agriculture is of enduring significance.”—Ann Grodzins Gold, author of In the Time of Trees and Sorrows: Nature, Power, and Memory in Rajasthan