“Dr. Butler brings knowledge, experiences, and vision that will deepen our excellent degree programs, and significantly enhance Iliff’s future work with new learners,” said Iliff President Tom Wolfe. “At Iliff, Dr. Butler will work with the AI Institute, generously funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, and will teach courses for our degree programs and public audience as a member of the faculty.”
Dr. Philip Butler joined us as Term Assistant Professor of Theology and Black Posthuman Artificial Intelligence Systems on June 1. He is not new to Iliff as he has spoken at the Renewal Conference 2020 and participated at the inaugural event of the AI Institute in 2019. As an academic, Dr. Butler brings an excellent teaching resume and cutting-edge scholarship that combines Black liberation theologies, race, spirituality and science, particularly artificial intelligence.
He is also the founder of The Seekr Project, which is a distinctly Black conversational artificial intelligence with mental health capacities, combining machine learning and psychotherapeutic systems.
Dr. Butler is also well published in the field of theology, philosophy, and science. A recent publication is Black Transhuman Liberation Theology: Technology and Spirituality (Bloomsbury, 2019) in which he investigates what might happen when Black people utilize technological advancements to enhance both Black spiritualities and Black bodies in the struggle of materializing liberating realities.
Dr. Butler received his B.A. from Morehouse College, M.Div. from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and M.A. and Ph.D. from the Claremont School of Theology. His teaching and research interests include theology, spiritual formation, neuroscience and spirituality, black studies, ethics, and technology.
“Dr. Jung’s appointment further expands our already strong comparative religion course offerings, and his transoceanic approaches to religious and theological studies with deep commitment to social and racial justice will be immensely helpful in the leadership formation of our students,” said Iliff Dean of the Faculty, The Rev. Dr. Boyung Lee.
We are excited to welcome Dr. Girim Jung who is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Comparative Religion and Contextual Theologies and Louisville Institute Post- Doctoral Fellow. Dr. Jung specializes in Comparative Religion and Comparative Philosophy with a particular focus on East Asian Buddhism, Black Atlantic traditions, and Decolonial Thought.
A second-generation Korean American born in Seoul, South Korea, Dr. Jung was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Felician University in New Jersey before joining Iliff. Dr. Jung, whose appointment is for two academic years, started on October 1.
Dr. Jung received his doctorate in Comparative Theology/Philosophy from the Claremont School of Theology, California, in 2019. His Ph.D. research and dissertation focused on the archipelagic thinking to decolonize comparative religious and cultural studies by taking a transoceanic approach linking the Black Atlantic to the Asia Pacific. It looked at Black and Asian political solidarities and the resonances between Black Atlantic thought and Huayan Buddhist philosophy.
Dr. Jung is also a graduate of Rutgers University (Bachelor of Arts) and Yale Divinity School (Master of Divinity), and has been involved with the NYC DSA’s Afrosocialist & Socialists of Color Caucus and Religion and Socialism Working Group.