In a world where religion plays so central a role in social, political, and economic events, as well as in the lives of communities and individuals, there is a critical need for ongoing reflection upon and understanding of religious traditions, issues, questions, and values. The American Academy of Religion's mission is to promote such reflection through excellence in scholarship and teaching in the field of religion.
As a learned society and professional association of teachers and research scholars, the American Academy of Religion has about 9,000 members who teach in some 900 colleges, universities, seminaries, and schools in North America and abroad. The Academy is dedicated to furthering knowledge of religion and religious institutions in all their forms and manifestations. This is accomplished through Academy-wide and regional conferences and meetings, publications, programs, and membership services.
Within a context of free inquiry and critical examination, the Academy welcomes all disciplined reflection on religion—both from within and outside of communities of belief and practice—and seeks to enhance its broad public understanding.
The purpose of the Academy derives from two principal goals: (1) To promote understanding of and critical reflection on religious traditions, issues, questions, values, texts, practices, and institutions. To this end, we foster communication and exchange among teachers and scholars, and the public understanding of religion. (2) To serve the professional interests of members as students, teachers, and scholars.
The Academy is committed to promoting equity, responsibility, and democratic accountability within the academic study of religion and in the work of the Academy itself.
The AAR has a staff of thirteen. The office is in the Luce Center on the campus of Emory University, 825 Houston Mill Road, NE, Suite 300, Atlanta, Georgia 30329. The main telephone number is 1-404-727-3049, and the fax number is 1-404-727-7959.
Members volunteer their time to further the work of the AAR, and to serve their fellow members, by standing for election as officers and members of the Board of Directors; serving on committees and working groups, including task forces and juries; leading Program Units as chairs and steering committee members; and serving in one of the ten AAR Regions as regional coordinators and officers. Thank you to our member volunteers!
In 1909, Professor Ismar J. Peritz of Syracuse University conceived the idea of forming a new organization for professors and scholars. Its purpose was to stimulate scholarship and teaching in religion. From those early beginnings more than 100 years ago, the American Academy of Religion has grown to be the world's largest association of academics who research or teach topics related to religion, with some 9,000 members in North America and abroad. The AAR neither endorses nor rejects any religious belief or practice.
Governance & Policies
Governance and policy issues at the American Academy of Religion are described in the sections to the right. For questions not addressed in these sections, please contact the AAR executive office at 404-727-3049, or email us at email@example.com. For individual contact information for staff members, please see the staff pages.
The AAR engages in several initiatives to broaden the public understanding of religion, including promoting teaching about religion in public schools; facilitating access to scholarly expertise on any religion or religious practice for journalists and public officials; and advocating on behalf of its members for government support of research and teaching about religion.
Affiliated with a number of organizations and institutions, the AAR welcomes opportunities to cooperate with groups wtih similar missions. Such organizations may apply for formal recognition as Related Scholarly Organizations (RSOs).
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