Sylvester A. Johnson is Assistant Vice Provost for the Humanities and Professor of Religion and Culture at Virginia Tech. He will direct Virginia Tech’s new Center for the Humanities. His research examines religion, race, and empire in Atlantic geographies. Johnson most recently authored African American Religions, 1500-2000: Colonialism, Democracy, and Freedom (Cambridge University Press 2015). He is co-editor (with Steven Weitzman) of The FBI and Religion: Faith and National Security Before and After 9/11 (University of California Press 2017). His Myth of Ham in Nineteenth-Century American Christianity (2004) won the American Academy of Religion’s Best First Book Award in 2005. Johnson’s current research examines religion and state repression and the challenge that intelligent machines are posing to philosophies of matter and religious conceptions of personhood.
Edward E. Curtis IV is Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts and Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He is the author or editor of eight books, including The Call of Bilal: Islam in the African Diaspora (2014), Black Muslim Religion in the Nation of Islam, 1960-1975 (2006), and Islam in Black America (2002). Curtis has also penned refereed articles selected for publication in the Journal of American History, American Quarterly, and the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, among other venues. A former NEH fellow at the National Humanities Center, he has been awarded Mellon, Fulbright, and Carnegie fellowships. Curtis was co-writer of a grant that permanently increased annual funding for Africana studies at IUPUI by $500,000 and was the founder of the African American Studies program at Trinity University, Texas. A native of Southern Illinois, Curtis holds a doctorate in religious studies from the University of South Africa, a master’s in history from Washington University, and a B.A. in religion from Kenyon College.