Grace Yia-Hei Kao

Associate Professor of Ethics
B.A., Stanford University; M.A., Stanford University;
Ph.D., Harvard University

Dr. Kao regularly teaches and researches in the following four areas: (1) rights, human and animal, (2) religion in the public sphere in the U.S., (3) ecofeminism, (4) Asian American Christianity. She is the author of Grounding Human Rights in a Pluralist World (Georgetown UP, 2011) and the co-editor of Asian American Christian Ethics: Voices, Methods Issues (Baylor UP, 2015).

At CST, Dr. Kao serves as the co-director of the Center for Sexuality, Gender and Religion (CSGR) and faculty advisor to the Asian Pacific Islander/American Association student group. She is a two-time recipient of CST’s Faculty Teaching Award (2010-2011, 2016-2017) and is the first Asian American woman to have been tenured at her institution.

An active member of professional societies, Kao serves on the steering committees of the Animals and Religion Group (ARG) and the Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching, and Activism Group (WOCSTAG) of the American Academy of Religion; the Board of Advisors of the Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry (PANAAWTM); and is the co-convener of the Animal Ethics Interest Group and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Christian Ethics. She is also serving on the editorial boards of the Journal of Religious Ethics (JRE), the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics (JSCE), and the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion (JRER).

Please consult her personal website for more information about her publications, current work, and speaking schedule.


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