Vic  Thasiah

Vic Thasiah, Ph.D.

Humanities 217

Office Hours: By appointment



Vic Thasiah teaches in the environmental studies, religious studies, and honors programs. He's also the founder and board president of the nonprofit Runners for Public Lands, the nation's leading advocacy organization representing runners in protecting the environment. Vic's research focuses on environmental philosophy -- especially ancient Chinese and Asian American -- and environmental activism.


Assistant Professor, 2011-2016

Associate Professor, 2016-2022

Department Chair, 2018-2022

Professor, 2022- 


Certified California Naturalist

Ph.D., University of Oxford 

M.Div., Princeton Seminary

B.A., UC Santa Cruz

Fresno City College


Selected Course Topics

Zen Buddhism in the West

Critical Environmental Justice

Religion and Political Thought

Violence, Religion, and Politics

Global Environmental Activism

Religion, Identity, and Vocation

Intro to Environmental Studies


Current Work

Ground Truth: The Natural World, Outdoor Recreation, and Environmental Activism (book in progress)

Selected Book Chapters

"Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh's Ecological Imagination," in Views of Nature and Dualism: Rethinking Philosophical, Theological, and Religious Assumptions in the Anthropocene (Palgrave Macmillan, 2024).

"Race and Climate: Decolonizing Liberal Arts Education," in So That All May Flourish, eds. Marcia J. Bunge, Jason A. Mahn, and Martha E. Stortz (Fortress Press, 2023).

"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 (Wipf & Stock, 2016). 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 (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016).

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

Selected Journal Articles

"Collapsing Space and Time: Thich Nhat Hanh's Ecological Humanism," Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Vol. 29, 2022.

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

Selected Presentations

"Thich Nhat Hanh, a Mountain Forest, and Equitable Access to Nature," American Academy of Religion, San Antonio, Texas, November 18, 2023.

"Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh on Environmental Justice," American Academy of Religion, Denver, Colorado, November 20, 2022.

"Toward an Asian-American Philosophy of Nature: Thich Nhat Hanh on Wildness and Wellness," American Academy of Religion (Western Region), March 20, 2021.

"Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh on Decolonizing Your Mind," American Academy of Religion, Denver, Colorado, November 19, 2018.

"Incubating Democracy in Development in Rwanda," 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 Political Theology," Remembering the Past, Living the Future: Lutheran Tradition in Transition Conference, University of Uppsala, Sweden, October 9, 2013.

"On Religious Anarchism," 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.

"On 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. 

Selected Public Writing

"Make Regeneration Irresistible: Runners Taking Climate Action," Freetrail, November 2, 2023.

"Running According to a Trail's 'Original Instructions'," Trail Runner Magazine, October 26, 2023.

"10 Things I've Learned from Runners for Public Lands," Freetrail, July 20, 2023.

"Belonging to Land and Sea: The Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary," Santa Barbara Independent, March 22, 2023.

"Equitable Access to Wonder: Congress Should Pass the Public Lands Act," Ventura Country Reporter, December 21, 2022. 

Grant Funding

$5,000 CLU Faculty Research and Creative Work Grant, 2023

$1,250 Hewlett Faculty Research Grant, 2023

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

$5,000 CLU Faculty Research and Creative Work Grant, 2014

$5,000 Wabash Summer Research Grant, 2013

$1,250 Hewlett Faculty Research Grant, 2013