Ph.D. Candidates

Kelly Maeshiro

Field of Study: Theology (Ethics); Philosophy

Contact Info:

B.A., Harvard University
M.A., Union Theological Seminary



Research Focus:
Kelly’s work falls into two broad categories: practical and speculative. In his practical work, which draws heavily from political economy, especially Marxist political economy, Kelly is focused on a theological critique of capitalism as a form of religion corresponding to a definite historical form of idolatry. Drawing on Origen, Aquinas, Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Niebuhr, his speculative work is focused on the theoretical foundations of rational theology, incorporating elements of both philosophical theology and liberation theology, with the aim of synthesizing the valid claims of both rationalism and radicalism within a rigorous theological framework.

Research Interests:
Philosophy: ancient philosophy, German idealism, Marxism, critical theory, with foci in Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, and Marx. Theology: patristic theology, medieval theology, modern theology, Christian social ethics, liberation theology, with foci in Origen, Aquinas, and Niebuhr. Political economy: classical political economy, Marxist political economy, modern economic theory, American foreign policy, socialism; with foci in Smith, Marx, and Chomsky. Other interests include music, art, literature, mathematics, and natural science. 

Background & Activities:
Prior to his work in academia, Kelly has worked in various capacities in education, law, and religion, as a member of the Hawaii State Board of Education, a commissioner on the Hawaii State Performance Standards Review Panel, a legal research assistant for the Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, and as theology editor for the Harvard Ichthus. He is currently serving on the Union Theological Seminary Investment Committee. Kelly is an Anglican, and really loves Bach.  See more at:

Teaching Fellow: Justice and the World Order with Dr. Gary Dorrien