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.
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.
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
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.