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AAR Regions

Overview

Essential purposes of the American Academy of Religion as a learned society and a professional association are carried out at both Academy-wide and regional levels. Activities designed to implement these tasks at either level reinforce and supplement the work of the other. At present the annual Academy-wide meeting is augmented and expanded by ten geographically distinct regional meetings.

Regional meetings of the Academy often incorporate patterns of organization and presentation similar to those followed at the Academy-wide meetings: section meetings, giving and responding to papers, plenary speeches. Regional meetings, however, offer unique and distinct opportunities for members. Regions have developed a distinct character of their own, providing the following opportunities:

  • Greater personal contact among members than is possible at the AAR Annual Meeting.
  • Greater local accessibility for members.
  • More opportunity for academic exchange across sub-field specializations.
  • Occasions for cooperative research projects.
  • Flexible and accessible programming.
  • Experimentation within annual meeting programming, as well as programming for regionally specific issues.
  • Leadership cultivation.
  • Higher local visibility of professional development efforts through mentoring, workshops, and programs to enhance teaching skills.
  • Ready access to graduate students for presentation of their work.
  • Contact for job opportunities opening late in the academic year.
  • Networks for sharing of research among local scholars.

While the Board of Directors has supervision of the whole, regional officers have direct responsibility for the regions. The Regionally Elected Coordinators provide a natural link between the interests and concerns of regions and those of the entire Academy.

Regions Committee

The Regions Committee is a working group of the Board whose membership consists of the ten Regionally Elected Coordinators. The responsibilities of the committee are defined in its charge: The Regions Committee facilitates and supports the work of the American Academy of Religion regional structures. In doing so, the Committee has responsibility for general issues and for development and recommendation of policies relevant to the regions and their activities. The Committee administers certain funds for the support of regional activities.

The Committee thus has primary responsibility for supporting, promoting and developing regional activities. The Committee is the initial forum where regional concerns and policies are discussed and evaluated before being presented to the Board of Directors. It is also the group through which major new initiatives supporting the regions can be implemented.

Regional Development Grants

Regional Development Grants provide funds for special projects within the regions that promise to benefit the scholarly and professional life of AAR members and do the work of the AAR in the regions. Workshops, special programs, training events and other innovative regional projects may be funded through this source. Generally, grants funded fall into two categories: seed funding to begin ongoing regional initiatives, or one-time funds for special projects. Where possible, projects should be designed so that they may be duplicated or transported to other regions.