Professional Profile & Service

Consistent with her training in philosophy, theology, and ethics, Grace Kao’s expertise lies at the intersections of those fields. More specifically, she teaches and conducts research in the following areas:

Dr. Kao’s Inaugural Lecture at CST

  • Human rights and animal ethics

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

  • (Eco)feminist ethics

  • Asian American theology/ethics

Her work has been generously enhanced and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Erasmus Institute (Notre Dame), the American Academy of University Women (AAUW), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Project on Lived Theology.

Her co-edited anthology, Asian American Christian Ethics, was published by Baylor University Press in 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.

Other work in progress include (1) a monograph entitled Righting Wrongs: Reparations and Reconciliation in Asian American Contexts and (2) a co-edited anthology with Rebecca Todd Peters entitled Encountering the Sacred: Feminist Reflections on Women’s Lives which will be published by Bloomsbury/T&T Clark in the fall of 2018.



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

She is also an active member of several professional associations.

AARShe serves on the AAR steering committees of the Animals and Religion Group (ARG) and the Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching, and Activism Group (WOCSTAG). She previously served on the Law, Religion, and Culture Group steering committee (2005-2008, 2008-2011) and co-chaired the Religion, Ethics, and Society section of the Southeastern regional AAR (2006-2009).


Society of Christian Ethics logoShe 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 co-convening the Animal Ethics Interest Group, which she founded in 2015.


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

In 2015, she joined the North American Advisory Council of CreatureKind, an organization dedicated to engaging churches in new ways of thinking about animals and Christian faith.

In 2017 she joined the planning team for the Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (APARRI), an interdisciplinary organization founded in 1999.

Members of the PANAAWTM 2018 Local Committee. Pictured left to right: Jane Iwamura, Kirsten Oh, Grace Kao, Gale Yee, Rita Nakashima Brock

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Want to read reviews and abstracts of her books?

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