Vic  Thasiah

Vic Thasiah, Ph.D.

Professor of Religion
Humanities 217

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 work is in the environmental humanities. Research interests: ancient Chinese nature poetry, Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, and environmental philosophy and activism in the United States.

Vic is an affiliated faculty member in Environmental Studies, the founder of the nonprofit environmental organization Runners for Public Lands, and a board member of Los Padres ForestWatch.

See a recent interview of Vic on trail running, public lands, and environmental advocacy.


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

Zen Buddhism in the West

Critical Environmental Justice

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 protection in the United States (in progress)

Selected Book Chapters

"Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh's Ecological Imagination" (forthcoming in a book on nature and non-dualism).

"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

"Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh on Environmental Justice," American Academy of Religion, Denver, Colorado, November 20, 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