Professor of Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

Ravi Rajan was educated at the Universities of Delhi and Oxford, and received post-doctoral training at the University of California, Berkeley, Cornell University, and the Max Planck Institüt für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin.


He was a Senior Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore during 2012-14.


Rajan is also a Visiting Senior Fellow of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi, and a Visiting Professor at TERI University.


Rajan has five broad research interests:


  1. a)Environmental Justice and Human Rights

  2. b)The Governance of Environmental Risks and Disasters

  3. c)Environmental History and Philosophy

  4. d)Environmentally Inclusive Governance; and

  5. e)World History.


Rajan has made significant contributions to higher education administration. As Provost of College Eight at UC Santa Cruz from 2006 - 2012, he did pioneering work designing a ‘green’ curriculum aimed at nurturing environmental entrepreneurs. Amongst the highlights are a novel three quarter freshman core course which includes an national award winning sustainability field practicum; a popular online learning and teaching portal based on the latest web based interactive technologies; and a series of programs aimed at forging environmental entrepreneurship amongst students.


Rajan has also held several faculty leadership appointments at UC Santa Cruz. He served on the Education Abroad Program Committee during 1999-2002; the Committee on Planning and Budget during 2005-07; and the Committee on Educational Policy during 2008-09, where he contributed substantially to the reconceptualizing and redesign of the campus’s General Educational Requirements.


Rajan has been a significant presence in national and international academic institutions. He served as Chair of the Outreach Committee of the American Society for Environmental History, and on many of its committees in the past, including as the Program Chair for the Society’s Annual Meeting.


He was a founding member of the editorial board of the journal, Environment and History. He currently serves on the editorial board of the journal, Environmental Justice, and of the book series of the European Society for Environmental History. He has served as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), as well as for a number of leading journals and publishers.


Rajan has also served a number of civil society organizations. He is currently a member of the Board of Greenpeace International. His previous public service includes the Presidency of the Board of Directors of Pesticide Action Network, North America (PANNA) ; board service for the International Media Project, which produces the weekly radio news program, Making Contact; membership of the city of Santa Cruz’s Green Building Committee, which created the new building code for the city; and Charter Membership of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), Silicon Valley, the world’s largest not for profit organization for entrepreneurs. He co-founded the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, a documentation and information center on the gas disaster, in 1985, and served on the core group of the Indian environmental organization, Kalpavriksh, during the 1980s.


In addition to his scholarly work, Rajan also writes periodic essays in the popular news media.


Rajan is married to Priya Rao, a software engineer and classical vocalist, they have three children - one human and two feline.


This website is in the process of being updated.


Please visit again in January 2017 for more details, including:


  1. -Awards and grants


  1. -Research and publications, and


  1. -Information about Rajan’s contributions to the university, other institutions, and the public at large.