Vic  Thasiah

Vic Thasiah, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Religion
Humanities 217



Specialties: Buddhism in the West; mindfulness studies; social and ecological ethics

Vic Thasiah is a runner-conservationist interested in how the study of religion can contribute to our understanding of the human condition and natural world, and help us engage social and ecological problems related to climate realities. He is currently writing a book on Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and the development of mindfulness during the war in Vietnam. Thasiah's early work on community organizing is based on research conducted in Rwanda in collaboration with former Rwandan refugees and survivors of genocide. He is the chair of the Religion Department, and the founder of Runners for Public Lands, a grassroots movement connecting runners to local land conservation. 


Certified California Naturalist

Ph.D., University of Oxford

M.Div., Princeton Seminary

B.A., U.C. Santa Cruz




Selected Courses Taught

Buddhism and Mindfulness

Religion and Social Change

Religion and Political Thought

Violence, Religion, and Politics

Global Ethics, Civil Resistance

Religion, Identity, and Vocation


Work in Progress

Book on Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

"Organized Religion: Vernacular and Vanguardist Decentralization in Rwanda" (Journal of Africana Religions, under review)

Book Chapters

"Religion, Forestry, and Democracy in Rwanda after Genocide," in Eco-Reformation: Grace and Hope for a Planet in Peril, eds. Lisa E. Dahill and Jim Martin-Schramm (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2017). Review.

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

Journal Articles

"Prophetic Pedagogy: Critically Engaging Public Officials in Rwanda," Studies in World Christianity 23:3 (2017), 257-280.

"Portfolio Work," Teaching Theology and Religion 20:4 (October 2017).

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

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

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


"Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh on Decolonizing Your Mind," American Academy of Religion, Denver, Colorado, November 2018.

"When Cunning Is Prudence: Rwandan Organizing, Thomistic Virtue," Religion and Power: New Directions in Social Ethics Conference, Princeton University, March 12, 2015. Invited presentation.

"'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. 

Grant Funding

$40,000 Sabbatical Research Grant, Louisville Institute, 2017-2018

$5,000 CLU Faculty Research Grant, 2014

$5,000 Wabash Summer Research Grant, 2013

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