Vic  Thasiah

Vic Thasiah, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Religion

Office Hours: By appointment

Vic's teaching and writing are in the fields of religious studies, environmental studies, and violence studies. He is working on a book on ecological humanism, which develops an Asian-American philosophy of nature supportive of environmental stewardship in the United States. Vic's earlier work on Rwandan community organizing and grassroots democracy involved research throughout Rwanda in collaboration with former Rwandan refugees and survivors of genocide. 

He is chair of the Religion Department, and an affiliated faculty member in the Environmental Studies Program. Vic is also the founder and executive director of Runners for Public Lands (RPL), a regional environmental stewardship lab (and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization) where runners of all ages and abilities practice organizing and mobilizing runners for environmental justice and stewardship through advocacy and conservation. As an athlete, he is a member of the Microcosm community.


Upcoming courses

Spring 2022: Violence, Religion, and Politics (RLTH 353)

Fall 2022: Environmental Justice (Honors)

Spring 2023: Violence, Religion, and Politics (RLTH 353)

Fall 2023: Buddhism in the West (RLTH 3ST); Global Ethics (RLTH 351)


Recent conversations

Connecting Runners and Land (Runners World)

Podcast: Runners Support Transgender Youth

Running Toward Sustainability Interview, 17-22

When Passion Becomes Protection (Trail Runner)

A Trail Runner's Guide to Environmental Justice

Running for the World

Humans of HOKA series

Social Sport podcast guest

Trail running and anti-racism

Climate change and running

Our running trails are burning

Talking about climate change

Health, fun, and awareness

Certified California Naturalist

Ph.D., University of Oxford 

M.Div., Princeton Seminary

B.A., UC Santa Cruz

Fresno City College

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 on ecological humanism, which develops an Asian-American philosophy of nature supportive of environmental stewardship in the United States

Book Chapters

Race and Climate: Decolonizing Liberal Arts Education (forthcoming)

"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).

Journal Articles

"Collapsing Space and Time: Thich Nhat Hanh's Ecological Humanism" (forthcoming)

"For Life, Work, Politics, and Ecology: Climate Justice and Liberal Education," Journal of Lutheran Ethics 21:5 (August/September 2021).

"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).

"On Voluntary Poverty," Journal of Lutheran Ethics 10:6 (June 2010).

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


"Running, Environmental Justice, and Tackling Embedded Racism," Meaning Through Movement Tour with Alison Mariella Désir, April 24, 2021.

"Empowering a Community of Climate Action Champions," U.S. Trail Running Conference Webinar, April 22, 2021.

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

"Trail Running and Climate Action" (keynote), 2020 U.S. Trail Running Conference, Fayetteville, Arkansas, October 21, 2020.

"Trail Running and Environmental Stewardship," and "Trail Running and Trail Access," Panelist, U.S. Trail Running Conference, Estes Park, Colorado, October 23, 2019.

"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. 


$1000 Intersectional Environmentalist, August, 2021.

$1200 David and Sasha Pickles, July, 2021.

$1000 Conrad Hilton Foundation, June, 2021.

$1000 McCune Foundation, May, 2021.

$500 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. Grant, March, 2021.

2021 Mile 26 Running Company Charity Partner

2020 AllWeDoIsRun Conservation Partner (Runners for Public Lands)

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

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

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

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

$1,800 HOKA ONE ONE 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