Contact Information




Ph.D., Theology, Loyola University Chicago, 2009
M.A., Pastoral Ministry, Boston College, 2001
B.S., Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999

Expertise & Research Interests, Courses & Scholarship


Catholic systematic theologies
Feminist liberation theologies
Whiteness and theological anthropology
Theolgies of suffering

Research Interests

Christian ethics and media
Whiteness and Christianity
Social privilege and passive bystanding in theological perspective
Theologies of embodiment
Gender-based violence and Christian tradition

Courses & Awards

Recent Courses Taught:

  • EQ 110 Is God Good?
  • EQ123 Just Sex? (sexual ethics)
  • IHP 215 God, Race, and Theology
  • THEO 306 True Crime and the Justice of God
  • THEO 520 Christology

• Academic Advising: I am happy to work with students interested in participating in Duquesne's URSS or GSRS. For more information contact Dr. Vasko directly.

Teaching Awards:

Dr. Vasko has received a Rangos Award (2020) for her work with Dr. Lyndsie Ferrara on True Crime and the Justice of God, which re-imagines undergraduate learning through an interdisciplinary paradigm that brings together theology and forensic science.

In 2014 Dr. Vasko was a recipient of a university Creative Teaching Award for her work with Dr. Anna Scheid on anti-racist pedagogy in theology classrooms.

Professional Memberships:

Catholic Theological Society of America

American Academy of Religion

College Theology Society

Society of Christian Ethics

Scholarship and Creative Works (Selected):

"Why We Can't Wait" - Racism and the Church, co-edited with Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos and Tracy Tiemeier. forthcoming 2023

True Crime and the Justice of God: Ethics, Media, and Forensic Science, with Lyndsie Ferrara. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2022

Beyond Apathy: A Theology for Bystanders, Minneapolis: Fortress, 2015

 Beyond Apathy: A Theology for Bystanders (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2015).

Theological conversations about violence have typically framed the discussion in terms of victim and perpetrator. Such work, while important, only addresses part of the problem. Comprehensive theological and pastoral responses to violence must also address the role of collective passivity in the face of human denigration. Given the pervasiveness of inaction-whether in the form of denial, willful ignorance, or silent complicity-a theological reflection on violence that holds bystanders accountable, especially those who occupy social sites of privilege, is long overdue. 

Elisabeth T. Vasko utilizes resources within the Christian tradition to examine the theological significance of bystander participation in patterns of violence and violation within contemporary Western culture, giving particular attention to the social issues of bullying, white racism, and sexual violence. In doing so, she constructs a theology of redeeming grace for bystanders to violence that foregrounds the significance of social action in bringing about God's kingdom.

  •  "Anti-Asian Bias during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Christian Ethics, Big Data, and Digital Literacy," with Wenqi Zhou. Paluse Grant, Center for Catholic Faith and Culture, May 2022-May 2023.
    Voices for Juvenile Justice, Seed Grant, Center for Community Engagement, with Lyndsie Ferrara, August 2021-June 2022.
  • "Pink Blankets, Sexual Violence, Moral Paralysis, and Christian Vocation," in Theologies of Failure, eds. Roberto Sirvent and Duncan Reyburn (New York: Cascade, 2019),
  • "Bad Mothers, Mad Mothers: Resisting the Theo-Logic of Stigma and Embracing Grace as Dis-Ease," Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 37.1 (2017): 141-159.
  • "Civic Learning and Teaching as a Resource for Sexual Justice: An Undergraduate Religious Studies Course Module," Teaching Theology and Religion 20.2 (2017): 162-170.