Vic Thasiah is interested in how the study of both religion (primarily indigenous, Buddhist, and Daoist) and the environment can contribute to the contemporary understanding, and meaning we make, of our lives in relation to climate change.
He is currently working on a book titled The Zen of War, which examines the development of Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh's practice of mindfulness during the Vietnam War. Thasiah's early work on community organizing and grassroots democracy 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 founder and executive director of Runners for Public Lands, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that mobilizes and supports runner participation in conservation work and environmental causes.
RLTH 351 Global Environmental Activism (Fall, 2019)
RLTH 353 Histories of Violence (Spring, 2020)
RLTH 3XX Buddhism and Mindfulness (Fall, 2020)
Certified California Naturalist
Ph.D., University of Oxford
Selected Courses Taught
Buddhism and Mindfulness
Religion and Social Change
Religion and Political Thought
Violence, Religion, and Politics
Global Environmental Activism
Religion, Identity, and Vocation
"Runners, Conservation Work, and Environmental Causes," REI Santa Barbara, October 24, 2019.
"Runners, Conservation Work, and Environmental Causes," REI Oxnard Store, October 17, 2019.
"Trail Runners and the Trails Community," Dirt Magic Night, Patagonia Ventura, August 13, 2019.
"Runner Environmentalism: Runners for Public Lands," Inside Track Running Club, July 30, 2019.
"Run Wild, Have Fun, Get Involved, and Give Back," RPL at Patagonia Ventura, July 18, 2019.
"Runner Environmentalism: Runners for Public Lands," Ventura Running Club, April 17, 2019.
"Organizing Environmentally-Conscious Runners," Topa Topa Brewery, September 24, 2018.
Work in Progress
Book on Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
"Vernacular and Vanguardist Decentralization in Rwanda" (Journal of Africana Religions, under review)
"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).
"Critically Engaging Public Officials in Rwanda," Studies in World Christianity 23:3 (2017), 257-280.
"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