About AAR

We are the largest scholarly society dedicated to the academic study of religion, with more than 6,000 members around the world. Our mission is to foster excellence in the academic study of religion and enhance the public understanding of religion.

Mission and Values

Our mission is to foster excellence in the academic study of religion and enhance the public understanding of religion. We're committed to promoting academic excellence, professional responsibility, free inquiry, critical examination, diversity, inclusion, respect, and transparency within the academic study of religion and in our own work.

History of the AAR

Initially an association for scholars of Biblical Studies, today we support those who study any and all religions. We are not a faith-based organization. The expertise of our membership spans virtually all religions, and we neither endorse nor condemn any religious belief or practice.

Award Programs

We administer several award programs each year. These awards recognize extraordinary contributions to the academic study of religion and the public understanding of religion as well as service to the AAR membership.

Public Engagement Programs

To fulfill our mission of enhancing the public understanding of religion, we develop and facilitate programs designed to engage a variety of publics, including a biennial lecture series and resources for public scholars.

Grant Programs

We maintain several grant programs for members. Eligible applicants can seek funding for regional development grants, travel grants to attend our Annual Meeting, public engagement fellowships and seed grants, and research grants for international dissertation work, collaboration with other scholars, and individual projects.

AAR Regions

Our ten regions focus on creating a community of scholars based on regional size, ethos, cooperation with other scholarly societies, and potential. The special size and character of regions encourage accessibility, adaptability, service to scholars at various career stages, collegiality, and flexibility of program.

Governance and Staff

An affiliate of Emory University, we are headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Leadership groups include the AAR Board of Directors, five committees of the board, and numerous working groups, such as juries, committees, and task forces.

Policies and Key Documents

Key AAR documents include our bylaws, statements and resolutions passed by our Board of Directors, financial documents, and information on privacy and AAR elections.


We are affiliated with a number of organizations and institutions, including the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Alliance, and the International Association for the History of Religions. We welcome opportunities to cooperate with organizations that have similar missions to our own; such organizations may apply for formal recognition as Related Scholarly Organizations.

Media and Advertising Inquiries

We work to connect journalists with scholars of religion whose expertise can provide valuable insight. We also offer many opportunities to advertise in print and online communications, at the Annual Meeting, and on our job board, managed jointly with the Society of Biblical Literature.

Take Action with the AAR

sign up for action alerts

Join a nation-wide group of advocates for the humanities by signing up for news from the National Humanities Alliance, an advocacy coalition the AAR has been a member of since 1983.