Margarita Simon Guillory to discuss work with digital humanities

Margarita Guillory

As the inaugural director of the Digital Humanities Initiative in Boston University’s Center for the Humanities, Margarita Simon Guillory’s work in that field is about reminding “technologists that you are dealing with humans, and it’s important to take into consideration the humanistic ways in which your products are going to be implemented,” she told Steve Holt for the BU Arts x Sciences Magazine

“You miss something when you do not incorporate (in your research) the ways in which these innovative technologies are impacting our lives, whether it’s from a philosophical standpoint, whether it’s from a religious standpoint, whether it’s from a sociological, economic, or political standpoint,” Guillory told BU Arts x Sciences Magazine.

At 2 p.m. today in the Hall of Philosophy, Guillory will speak as part of the Interfaith Lecture Series and its Week Two theme of “Religion’s Intersections: Interdisciplinary Imagination with Science, Technology and AI.” Guillory is a scholar of religion, also interested in the digital lives of Black Americans; she’s associate professor of religion and African American Studies at Boston University, and one of her most popular courses is “Religion and Hip-Hop.” 

Within the Digital Humanities Initiative, she wants to create projects not dissimilar to the ones she assigns her students in that course. As students analyze hip-hop lyrics through the lens of religion, they present their analyses through digital murals and podcasts. Guillory wants students in the Digital Humanities Initiative to engage with the work of BU researchers, or join worship on the ethics of generative artificial intelligence.

“Digital humanities is alive and well,” Guillory told BU Arts x Sciences. “And here’s a place where you can participate in this thriving enterprise.”

Guillory’s publications include Social and Spiritual Transformation in African American Spiritual Churches, and she is co-editor of Esotericism in African American Religious Experience. She’s published articles in the Journal of Gnostic Studies, Culture and Religion, and Pastoral Psychology. Her forthcoming book, Africana Religion in the Digital Age, explores the diverse ways that African Americans employ the Internet, social media, human enhancement technologies, and gaming to construct multidimensional modes of religious identities.

“People of African descent — particularly African Americans in this country — are engaged,” Guillory told Arts x Sciences shortly before appearing as a panelist for the 2023 Gitner Family Lecture at BU, asking the question of, “What does it mean to be human in the world of AI?” “They’re engaging digital media in some really sophisticated and creative ways to create identities and to have these digital lives that allow them to foster a sense of freedom that they might not have in their offline realities.”

Tags : AIartificial intelligenceBoston University’s Center for the HumanitiesDigital Humanities Initiativeinterfaith lecture previewinterfaith lecture seriesmargarita simon guilloryreligion

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