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Seton Hall University

Ki Joo (KC) Choi, Ph.D.

Department of Religion

I am a theological ethicist specializing in Catholic and Protestant (ecumenical) moral theology, the ethics of Jonathan Edwards, aesthetics (art theory), the political morality of race and ethnicity, and Asian American theology and ethics. My teaching areas also include the ethics of war and peace and bioethics/medical humanities.

I am the author of Disciplined by Race: Theological Ethics and the Problem of Asian American Identity (Cascade Books, 2019), the first major critical and constructive interpretation of Asian American experiences of race by a theologian. Reframing the terms of debate for Asian American theology and ethics, this book examines the central importance of a racialized conception of Asian American identity for contemporary theological and philosophical discussions on cultural authenticity, the relationship between autonomy and relationality, and racial solidarity and resistance.

A more recent publication is a co-edited book titled Reimagining the Moral Life: On Lisa Sowle Cahill’s Contributions to Christian Ethics (Orbis Books, 2020). My current research projects include a follow-up to my book Disciplined by Race. This second volume provides an Asian American engagement with Black and Latinx liberation theologies and their accounts of the cross/christology, social justice, and nonviolent resistance. I am also working on a book examining the role that aesthetic experiences play in forming as well as fracturing political community and public discourse. Lastly, I am researching conceptions of the emotions from theological and evolutionary-scientific perspectives to better understand the necessity as well as perils of the emotions for the moral life.

These research projects reflect my primary interest in the nature of moral deliberation: What are the mechanics of moral reasoning? How do we make moral judgments? And what are the impediments to moral decision-making and action. I am especially interested in the ways that aesthetic experience, race, and the emotions advance or constrain moral discourse, solidarity, and participatory democracy.

In addition to major academic journals and edited volumes, my research and teaching have appeared and/or been featured in a number of blogs and news sites, including the Wabash Center's Race Matters in the Classroom blog, CivicStory/NJ Arts News, NJ 101.5 FM, The Los Angeles Times, and Sojourners Magazine.

At Seton Hall, my service includes co-directing the Medical Humanities Minor, a program that I developed with my colleague Dr. Abe Zakhem who chairs the Department of Philosophy, and coordinating the Core 2101 program of the University Core. Core 2101 is a required sophomore-level course that examines the dialogue between faith and reason within the Catholic intellectual tradition. I am also the co-editor of Christianity and Culture (Kendall Hunt, 2010, 2013), the textbook adopted for the Core 2101 program. My service also includes advising Seton Hall's chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honor society for religious studies and theology, working as the executive secretary of the University Faculty Senate, co-chairing the institutional and academic assessment working group for Seton Hall's most recent Middle States Accreditation review, and serving as co-chair of the Faculty Senate’s Academic Policy Committee. With my colleague Monsignor Richard Liddy of the Center for Catholic Studies at Seton Hall, I also hosted the Ethics and Economic Forum, a faculty venue for interdisciplinary discussions on economics, theology, ethics, and social justice.

I am a past member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, the Alumni Advisory Board of Yale University Divinity School (elected as Vice-Chair for 2011-2012), and the Advisory Board of the Ethics Institute at Kent Place School in Summit, NJ. I am the past co-convener of the Asian American Ethics Working Group of the Society of Christian Ethics and the Religion and Society section of the College Theology Society. I currently serve on the Grants Jury for the American Academy of Religion and the Board of Directors of the Society of Christian Ethics.