Victor  Thasiah

Victor Thasiah, DPhil (Oxon)

Associate Professor of Religion
Humanities 217


Victor Thasiah is interested in violent and non-violent resistance to various forms of oppression; and individual and collective cultural (including religious) practices connected to personal and/or social meaning and purpose. He is currently writing a book on Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and being oneself. Thasiah has published a number of articles on religion and politics, development, and the environment in post-genocide Rwanda; and now conducts research on religion, race, and organizing in the United States funded by a Louisville Institute Research Grant. He is on sabbatical for the 2017-2018 academic year.


D.Phil., University of Oxford

M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary

B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz


Courses Taught

Buddhism and Mindfulness (2018)

Religion and Social Change

Religion and Political Thought

Violence, Religion, and Politics

Global Ethics, Civil Resistance

Religion, Identity, and Vocation

Contemporary Christian Ethics



Work in Progress

Book on Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and being oneself

Research project on religion, race, and organizing in the United States funded by a 2017-2018 Louisville Institute Research Grant

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


"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 in the Economy of the Spirit," Journal of Lutheran Ethics 10:6 (June 2010).

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


"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.


Morality Truly Christian, Truly African: Foundational, Methodological, and Theological Considerations, Paulinus Ikechukwu Odozor, C.S.Sp. (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015) Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, forthcoming.

Review Essay: Christian Ethics as Witness, D. Haddorff (Cascade Books, 2010); and The Analogy of Grace, G. McKenny (Oxford University Press, 2010) Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 33:1 (Spring/Summer 2013) 192-194.

Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch, J. Webster (Cambridge University Press, 2003) International Journal of Systematic Theology  6:4 (October 2004) 466-469.

Admiration and Challenge: Karl Barth's Theological Relationship with John Calvin, S. Chung (Peter Lang, 2002) International Journal of Systematic Theology 6:1 (January 2004) 97-98.


Social Statement on Criminal Justice (Chicago: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2013). Advisor.

Hearing the Cries: Faith and Criminal Justice (Chicago: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2011). Editor and contributor.

Toward Compassionate, Just, and Wise Immigration Reform (Chicago: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2010). Author.


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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