Margarita Simon Guillory is Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University. She is the author of Social and Spiritual Transformation in African American Spiritual Churches (Routledge 2017) and co-editor of Esotericism in African American Religious Experience (Brill 2014). In addition to these works, she has published articles in the Journal of Gnostic Studies, Culture and Religion, and Pastoral Psychology. Her current project, Africana Religion in the Digital Age, considers how African Americans utilize the Internet, social media, mobile applications, and gaming to forge new ways to express their religious identities.

Funded Project: Africana Religion in the Digital Age

This project seeks to further diversify and complicate the field of Africana religious studies by considering the ways in which digital technology has impacted the religious experiences of African Americans. Specifically, it considers how African Americans utilize digital interactive media like the Internet, social media, mobile applications, and gaming to forge new ways to express their religious identities. Christianity is a continuous marker of religious identity for many African Americans. However, a digital approach to Africana religion as practiced in the U.S. uncovers other religious traditions. Spiritualism, hoodoo, and Yoruba-based religions represent only a few of the many non-Christian traditions used by African Americans to construct complex religious identities. Digital technology complicates the traditional, Christianized religious narrative by highlighting this religious diversity. Currently, there are no scholarly works that engage Africana religion in this way. Thus, Africana Religion in the Digital Age—which includes the publication of a scholarly book and the development of a mobile application—will be the first of its kind to examine interconnections between technology, identity construction, and religious practice in African American communities.