Professional Profile & Service

Consistent with her training in philosophy, theology, and ethics, Grace Kao’s expertise lies at the intersections of those fields.

She regularly teaches and conducts research in the following areas:

Answering questions from the audience

  • Rights, human and nonhuman animal

  • Religion in the public sphere in the U.S.

  • Christian Ethics

  • Ecofeminism

  • Asian American Christianity

Her work has been generously supported by grant, fellowship, or institute opportunities from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Erasmus Institute (Notre Dame), the American Academy of University Women (AAUW), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Her co-edited anthology, Asian American Christian Ethics, was published by Baylor University Press in September 2015 and represents the first book-length treatment on this emerging subfield of study. Her first book, Grounding Human Rights in a Pluralist World, was published in 2011 by Georgetown University Press in their Advancing Human Rights Series.

She has also published articles in leading academic journals including the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, the Journal of Religious Ethics, the Journal of Buddhist Ethics, and Political Theology.

Her work in progress includes two other co-edited anthologies: (1) Encountering the Sacred: Finding God in the Everyday (with Rebecca Todd Peters), and (2) Liberation Theology (with Paul Jones, under contract in the Shapers of Modern Theology Series, Fortress Press).



Grace Kao remains an active member of several professional associations.

AARShe is currently serving 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 (AAR). Past AAR service includes two terms on the steering committee of the Law, Religion, and Culture Group (2005-2008, 2008-2011) and previously co-chairing the Religion, Ethics, and Society section of the Southeastern regional AAR (2006-2009).


Society of Christian Ethics logoAt the Society of Christian Ethics, she served on the Board of Directors (2012-2015) was one of the founding members and original co-convener of the Asian and Asian American Working Group (2009-2011), and is currently co-convening the Animal Ethics Interest Group, which she founded in 2015.


PANAAWTM logoIn 2014, Grace Yia-Hei Kao joined the Board of Directors of the Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry (PANAAWTM) and now also serves on its steering committee.


Dr. Kao referees manuscripts for several leading journals and is currently serving on the Advisory Board of The Syndicate and the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Religious Ethics (Class of 2021), the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics (Class of 2019), and the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion (since 2014).

God & tenure cartoon

Rob Pitt, The Lighter Side of Academia, March 27, 2006

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Want to read reviews and abstracts of her books?

Find out where and when Dr. Grace Kao is presenting her next academic paper.