Grace Yia-Hei Kao

Associate Professor of Ethics

Craig 211
(909) 447-2530
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Dr. Kao teaches and researches on issues related to human and nonhuman animal rights, religion in the public sphere in the U.S., ecofeminism, and Asian American Christianity. She has also published chapters and articles on the relationship between religion and violence and the issue of interreligious cooperation and conflict. She is currently working on two co-edited anthologies: one on Asian American Christian Ethics, the second on a theological exploration of women's lives.

An active member of professional associations, Kao served for two terms on the steering committee of the Law, Religion, and Culture of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and was co-chair of the Religion, Ethics, and Society section of the Southeastern regional AAR. She was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the Society of Christian Ethics (SCE), was one of the founding members and co-convener of the Asian and Asian-American Working Group of the SCE, and is now also serving on the SCE 2020 Committee - a committee tasked with envisioning the future of Christian and responding to the key challenges facing the field.

At CST, Dr. Kao serves as a co-director of the Center for Sexuality, Gender and Religion (CSGR) and as the faculty advisor to the Asian Pacific Islander/American Association student group. She is the inaugural recipient of CST's Faculty Teaching Award (2010-2011) and also holds the honor of being the first Asian American woman to have been awarded tenure at CST.


Ph.D. - Harvard University (2003)
M.A. - Stanford University (1997)
B.A. - Stanford University (1996)

Recent Publications / Achievements

Advisory Board for the new and expanded edition of the Blackwell Companion to Religious Ethics (publication date: 2015-2016)

Grace Y. Kao, Grounding Human Rights in a Pluralist World (Georgetown University Press, April 2011)

Regular contributor to

Grace Y. Kao, "Exploring the Korean First Birthday Celebration (Dol Janchi) as a Site for Comparative Religious Ethics and Asian American Christian Ethics" in Religious Ethics in a Time of Globalism: A Third Wave of Comparative Analysis, eds. Elizabeth M. Bucar and Aaron Stalnaker (Palgrave MacMillan, 2012)

Grace Y. Kao, "Of Tragedy and its Aftermath: The Search for Religious Meaning in the Shootings at Virginia Tech," in From Jeremiad to Jihad: Religion, Violence, and America, eds. John D. Carlson and Jonathan H. Ebel (University of California Press, 2012)

Grace Y. Kao, "Moving Forward by Agreeing to Disagree: A Response to 'Healing Ecology,'" Journal of Buddhist Ethics 17 (2010): 267-277

Grace Y. Kao, "Mission Impossible: 'Nonsectarian' Prayer in the Military Chaplaincy," Political Theology 11.4 (2010): 611-640

Grace Y. Kao, "The Universal Versus the Particular in Ecofeminist Ethics," Journal of Religious Ethics 38.4 (2010): 616-637

Elizabeth Bucar, Grace Y. Kao, Irene Oh, "Sexing Comparative Ethics: Bringing Forth Feminist and Gendered Perspectives," Journal of Religious Ethics 38.4 (2010): 654-659

Grace Y. Kao, Ramón Luzárraga, and Darryl Trimiew, with introductory remarks by Christine E. Gudorf, "Managing Diversity in Academe," Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 28.2 (2008): 115-147

Grace Y. Kao, "For All Creation," in To Do Justice: A Guide for Progressive Christians, eds. Rebecca Toddie Peters & Elizabeth Hasty-Hinson (Westminster John Knox Press, 2008)

Grace Y. Kao, "The Logic of Anti-Proselytization, Revisited," in Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets, and Culture Wars, ed. Rosalind I. J. Hackett (Equinox, 2008)

Grace Y. Kao and Jerome Copulsky, "The Pledge of Allegiance and the Meanings and Limits of Civil Religion," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 75.1 (2007): 121-149
*This article was ranked as one of the JAAR's top ten full-text downloads for 2008. It has also been anthologized in Religion and American Politics: Classics and Contemporary Perspectives, eds. Amy Black, Douglas Koopman, and Larycia Hawkins (Longman, 2011).

Grace Kao,"Consistency in Ecofeminist Ethics: Contextual Moral Vegetarianism and Abortion," International Journal of the Humanities 3.11 (2005/2006): 11-22