Victor Thasiah, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Religion
Humanities 217


Victor Thasiah writes and teaches on local and global moral discourse and practice emerging from social and environmental activism. He specializes in the history of religion and politics, religious ethics (with particular interest in engaged Buddhism), and broad-based organizing theory and practice. Dr. Thasiah is currently working on a book titled "Religion after Genocide," based on his ethnographic research on grassroots democracy, community development, and environmental sustainability in Rwanda. He serves on the PICO (People Improving Communities through Organizing) International Advisory Board - strategizing and documenting organizing efforts in Rwanda - and on California Lutheran University's Center for Equality and Justice Steering Committee. Before coming to CLU in 2011, Dr. Thasiah was Director of Social Policy at the national office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Editor of Journal of Lutheran Ethics. 

  • Ph.D., Theology, Oxford University (2007)
  • Research Fellow, University of Tuebingen (1998)
  • M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary (1997)
  • B.A., Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz (1994)

Courses Taught

Religion and Power

Religion and Political Thought

Violence, Religion, and Politics

Global Ethics and Development

Studying Religion

Contemporary Christian Ethics

Introduction to Christianity

Church History and Theology (Oxford University)

The Problem of Evil (Elmhurst College)



Work in Progress

Religion after Genocide (book)

Political Religion: Vernacular and Vanguardist Decentralization in Rwanda" (article)

"Prophetic Christianity in Rwanda after Genocide" (article under review)

Book Chapters

"Religion, Forestry, and Democracy in Rwanda after Genocide," in Eco-Reformation: Grace and Hope for a Planet in Peril (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, forthcoming).

"The Right to Freedom of Association: Organizing in Rwanda after Genocide," in On Secular Governance: Lutheran Perspectives on Contemporary Legal Issues, eds. Marie A. Failinger and Ronald W. Duty (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016).

"Reconfiguring Church-State Relations: Toward a Rwandan Political Theology," in Lutheran Identity and Political Theology, eds. Carl Henric-Grenholm and Goran Gunner (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2014).


"Washing Your Ears: On Inter-Religious Friendships," Journal of Lutheran Ethics 11:3 (May/June 2011).

"Voluntary Poverty in the Economy of the Spirit," Journal of Lutheran Ethics 10:6 (June 2010).

"Trustworthiness: Infrastructuring a Better Chicago," AREA (Art, Research, Education, Activism) 10 (October 2010).


"When Cunning Is Prudence: Rwandan Organizing, Thomistic Virtue," Religion and Power: New Directions in Social Ethics Conference, Princeton University, March 12, 2015. Invited by the Princeton University Religion Department to respond to the work of Ernesto Cortes.

"'Things Are Not Okay in Rwanda If You Shut Up': Community Organizing Practices and Human Rights Advocacy after Genocide," Society of Christian Ethics, Chicago, January 11, 2015.

"Countering Complicity: Rwandan Political Theology after Genocide," American Academy of Religion, San Diego, California, November 23, 2014.

"The Right to Freedom of Association: Organizing in Rwanda after Genocide," Lutheran Perspectives on Contemporary Legal Issues, Valparaiso University Law School, Chicago, March 27, 2014.

"Toward a Rwandan Lutheran Political Theology," Remembering the Past, Living the Future: Lutheran Tradition in Transition Conference, University of Uppsala, Sweden, October 9, 2013.

"Ethical, Religious, Anarchist Politics," Third International Conference on Religion and Spirituality in Society, March 9, 2013.

"Second Realities: Karl Barth's Ethics and Socially-Engaged Art," Society of Christian Ethics (Pacific Meeting), February 10, 2012.

"Comprehensive Immigration Reform," Society of Christian Ethics Annual Meeting, January 8, 2010.

"Faith and Immigration Reform," Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Briefing, Washington, D.C., October 14, 2009.


Review Essay: Christian Ethics as Witness, D. Haddorff (Cascade Books, 2010); and The Analogy of Grace, G. McKenny (Oxford University Press, 2010),  Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 33:1 (Spring/Summer 2013) 192-194.

Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch, J. Webster (Cambridge University Press, 2003) International Journal of Systematic Theology  6:4 (October 2004) 466-469.

Admiration and Challenge: Karl Barth's Theological Relationship with John Calvin, S. Chung (Peter Lang, 2002)  International Journal of Systematic Theology 6:1 (January 2004) 97-98.


Social Statement on Criminal Justice (Chicago: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2013). Advisor.

Toward Compassionate, Just, and Wise Immigration Reform (Chicago: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2010). Author.


Grant Funding

1. Wabash Summer Fellowship, 2013, Lily Endowment, Inc.

2. Faculty Research and Creative Work Grant, 2014, California Lutheran University. 

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