Vic  Thasiah

Vic Thasiah, Ph.D.

Professor of Religion

Office Hours: By appointment


Vic has a background in humanitarian work in East Africa, working across Rwanda with former Rwandan refugees and survivors of genocide. His current teaching and research span the fields of religious studies, environmental studies, and violence studies.

Steeped in classical Chinese nature poetry and its influence on current American nature writing and environmentalism, Vic is working on a book that develops a contemporary Asian-American philosophy of nature supportive of environmental stewardship in the United States. 

He is an affiliated faculty member in Environmental Studies; and the founder of Runners for Public Lands, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit outdoor recreation and environmental justice organization. Vic also serves on the board of directors of Los Padres ForestWatch.

He loves clouds and forests, mountains and rivers, and trail running.


Assistant Professor, 2011-2016

Associate Professor, 2016-2022

Department Chair, 2017-2022

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

Environmental Humanities

Zen Buddhism in the West

Religion and Political Thought

Violence, Religion, and Politics

Global Environmental Activism

Religion, Identity, and Vocation


Current Work

Book developing a contemporary Asian-American philosophy of nature supportive of environmental stewardship in the United States (in progress)

Selected Book Chapters

Race and Climate: Decolonizing Liberal Arts Education (Fortress Press, forthcoming, 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 (Eugene, Oregon: 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 (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).

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

"DEI, Great; DWS (Dismantling White Supremacy), Even Better," Intersections, forthcoming, 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. 


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