Events

2019 Regional Meetings

Open Calls for Papers:

Eastern International Region
(
CFP Deadline: Feb. 1, 2019)

New England-Maritimes Region
(CFP Deadline: Jan. 18, 2019)

Mid-Atlantic Region
(CFP Deadline: Dec. 22, 2018)

Pacific Northwest
(CFP Deadline: Jan. 30th, 2019)

Open Registration:

Mid-Atlantic

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Statement in Response to Graduate Students

At the #MeToo session of the 2018 Annual Meeting in Denver, graduate students were represented on the panel by an empty chair. This statement, read at the beginning of the session by AAR Student Director Rachel Toombs, articulates why. The response from the AAR Board of Directors is below.

 

Statement in Response to Graduate Students

November 17, 2018
 
We, the members of the board of the AAR, wish to stand in solidarity with and in acknowledgment of the writers of the Graduate Student Committee’s statement on sexual harassment and violence. 
 
We want to acknowledge the pain, suffering, and loss expressed in the statement and experienced by graduate students who have been victims of sexual harassment and violence. As graduate students, you are our future, and if our educational systems and professional guilds fail you, our field cannot flourish. We lose the brilliance and the hope of you, the next generation. 
 
We also acknowledge the imbalance of power and privilege that makes up so much of our educational system today. Sexual harassment and violence are bound up with many other systems of power and forms of domination, harassment, and violence. This situation is exacerbated by the decline of employment opportunities in the study of religion and the humanities more generally, and continues to make graduate students vulnerable. We have recently put into place a new statement on professional conduct to address some of these ongoing systemic imbalances to guide all members of the AAR. 
 
In order to address the specific injustice of sexual-harassment and violence in our field, we have embarked this fall on a reform of our procedures, which we hope the board will approve at their meeting in February 2019. These changes will include a new updated statement addressing the ubiquity and deep human cost of sexual harassment and violence in our field. We will also be making several major changes in our practices of addressing sexual harassment and violence within the contexts of the AAR as well as our field more broadly.  We will be reforming our reporting and investigating procedures in key ways which reflect the most current thinking in the handling of concerns and complaints about sexual harassment and violence; indeed, we hope to lead other professional societies in developing some innovative approaches. We hope such reforms will encourage victims to come forward in the knowledge that they will receive confidential, fair and professional responses. We also resolve to work together to create and constantly refine our processes so that we can come to fair and transparent resolutions for all concerned. 
 
We commend the graduate student committee for its bravery and wise counsel, acknowledge the ongoing vulnerability of our graduate student population, and celebrate the strengths that its statement demonstrates in these troubling times.