Vic Thasiah, Ph.D. | California Lutheran University
Vic  Thasiah

Vic Thasiah, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Religion

Office Hours: By appointment only


How can the environmental humanities inform the meaning we make and the action we take in response to industrial pollution, climate destabilization, and ecological degradation -- especially concerning their catastrophic and unjust social impacts -- matters central to our present and future? This question drives Vic's academic work.

He is writing a book titled Being, Nature, and Dissent: Thich Nhat Hanh's Critical Environmental Humanism, based on the Zen Master's journals, writings, and poetry during the Vietnam War. Vic's earlier work on Rwandan community organizing and grassroots democracy involved research conducted in Rwanda in collaboration with former Rwandan refugees and survivors of genocide.

He is the chair of the Religion Department, an affiliated faculty member in CLU's Environmental Studies Program, and founder and executive director of Runners for Public Lands (RPL), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization out to turn every runner into a better steward of the environment and build a global running culture around climate action and environmental sustainability. Based in Ventura, CA, RPL focuses on protecting and restoring public lands, and equitable access, in our region.


Recent conversations

Humans of HOKA series

Social Sport podcast guest

Trail running and anti-racism




Certified California Naturalist

Ph.D., University of Oxford 


Selected Course Topics

Buddhism and Mindfulness

Religion and Social Change

Religion and Political Thought

Violence, Religion, and Politics

Global Environmental Activism

Religion, Identity, and Vocation


Current Work

Book titled The Zen of War

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

"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.

"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.

"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

2020 AllWeDoIsRun Conservation Partner (Runners for Public Lands)

2020 Spartan Trail Nonprofit Conservation Partner (Runners for Public Lands)

$1,000 HOKA Nonprofit Grant, January, 2020.

$4,500 Nonprofit Grant, Ventura Turkey Trot, December, 2019.

$2,000 Nonprofit Grant, Ventura Marathon, November, 2019.

$1,800 HOKA Nonprofit Grant, October, 2019.

$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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