Vic  Thasiah

Vic Thasiah, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Religion

Office Hours: Tuesdays, 11:25AM-12:10PM; and Wednesdays 11:00AM-12:45PM


Vic Thasiah is interested in how the fields of both religious studies and environmental humanities can contribute to the 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 promotes runner environmental literacy and mobilizes runner participation in conservation work, protecting public lands, and mitigating climate change.

Upcoming courses

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


Public Speaking

 "Trail Runner Stewardship and Access," US Trail Running Conference, Estes Park, CO, October 12, 2019.

"Trail Runner Advocacy and Community," US Trail Running Conference, Estes Park, CO, October 11, 2019.

"Trail Runners and the Trails Community," Dirt Magic Night, Patagonia, Ventura, CA, August 13, 2019.

"Runner Environmentalism: Runners for Public Lands," Inside Track Club, Ventura, CA, July 30, 2019.

"Run Wild, Have Fun, Get Involved, and Give Back," Run Wild, Patagonia, Ventura, CA, July 18, 2019.

"Runner Environmentalism: Runners for Public Lands," Ventura Running Club, Ventura, CA, April 17, 2019.

"Organizing Environmentally-Conscious Runners," Topa Topa Brewery, Ventura, CA, 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)

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.

"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

$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

Search Faculty

For Faculty