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Department ofReligious Studies

Karen Peterson-Iyer

Karen Peterson-Iyer

Associate Professor, Religious Studies Department

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Karen Peterson-Iyer received a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University, an M.Div. at the Graduate Theological Union, and an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in Ethics (Religious Studies) from Yale University. Her research interests are currently focused on labor ethics, sexual ethics (contemporary sexuality), bioethics, and human trafficking. In her teaching and research, she uses (and sometimes re-imagines) ethical frameworks and concepts such as human personhood, human flourishing, justice, and agency as lenses to examine contemporary ethical topics. Karen has also worked in the past in campus ministry and on the writing and editorial staff of Sojourners magazine in Washington, D.C.


TESP 4: The Christian Tradition
TESP 45: Christian Ethics
TESP 62: Medical Ethics in Christian Perspective
TESP 108: Human Trafficking and Christian Ethics
TESP 119: Theology, Sex, and Relationships
TESP 119R: RSS: Theology, Sex, and Relationships (Seminar)
TESP 141: Bioethics, Dignity, and Justice


Human Trafficking, Coercion, and Moral Agency in Agricultural Labor.” Theological Studies 83, no. 2 (June 2022): 245-70. 

Reenvisioning Sexual Ethics: A Feminist Christian Account (Georgetown University Press, Moral Traditions Series, April 2022).

“Christian Perspectives on Prenatal Diagnosis.” InThe Oxford Handbook of Religious Perspectives on Reproductive Ethics, ed. Dena Davis. Forthcoming.

“Vision for a Sustainable Future.” Review of Radical Sufficiency: Work, Livelihood, and a U.S. Catholic Economic Ethic, by Christine Firer Hinze. America, September 2021.

“Sex and Sexuality.” In T&T Clark Companion to Christian Ethics, ed. Tobias Winright, 439-449. London: T&T Clark, 2021.

“Contingency, Gender, and the Academic Table.” Journal of Moral Theology 8, Special Issue 1 (2019): 92-114.

“Finding God in All Things.” Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education, Fall 2014.

“Mobile Porn? Teenage Sexting and Justice for Women.” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, Fall/Winter 2013.

Designer Children: Reconciling Genetic Technology, Feminism, and Christian Faith (Pilgrim Press, 2004).

"Pharmacogenomics, Ethics, and Public Policy." Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, March 2008.

"Motherhood and Tenure: Can Catholic Universities Support Both?" Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice, March 2005. With Bridget Burke Ravizza.

"Prostitution: A Feminist Ethical Analysis," Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Fall 1998.

In The News

August 30, 2022

Karen Peterson-Iyer's book, Reenvisioning Sexual Ethics: A Feminist Christian Account, was one of 2 reviewed in the Catholic Virginian as offering insightful perspectives to guide our thinking about Christian sexual ethics. 

February 5, 2020

Karen Peterson-Iyer was quoted in a story that ran in The Mercury NewsEast Bay Times, and The Denver Post about the aftermath of an ethical lapse by a prominent Bay Area pastor. 

January 20, 2020

Karen Peterson-Iyer is among 91 ethicists who signed a statement that ran in Catholic Moral Theology, about the moral and ethical violations they see in U.S. military actions against Iran.