Annual Meeting

2017 Annual Meeting in Boston, Nov 18-21

Boston

The American Academy of Religion brings thousands of professors and students, authors and publishers, religious leaders and interested laypersons to its Annual Meeting each year. Co-hosted with the Society of Biblical Literature, the Annual Meetings are the largest events of the year in the fields of religious studies and theology.

Registration and Housing

General Information

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Call for Papers

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Accessibility Information for Annual Meetings

AAR members with disabilities or any attendees who may have difficulty getting around the meeting are encouraged to note this during registration, as well as on the housing section of registration, if applicable. AAR will make every reasonable attempt to provide accommodations and assistance, whether by arranging services such as sign language interpreters, assigning accessible hotel room space, or through the AAR & SBL’s taxi reimbursement policy. Please contact Soraya Shahrak, Associate Director of Meetings, at SShahrak@aarweb.org if you have any questions.

Getting Around the 2017 Annual Meeting in Boston

Access to and between the Hynes Convention Center and Main Hotels

Most AAR and SBL sessions will be held in four locations—the Hynes Convention Center, Hilton Back Bay, Marriott Copley Place, and the Sheraton Hotel. The Employment Center will be located at the Hynes. Additional meetings and receptions will be primarily held at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, Park Plaza Hotel, and Westin Copley Place. The Marriott, Sheraton, and Westin are connected to the Hynes via wheelchair accessible skywalks and two malls. All of the doors to access the buildings and skywalks below are unlocked from 6 am to 2 am. If you are traveling outside of those hours, you will need to go outside to access your hotel. Note that there are not any talking crosswalks (for those with visual disabilities) in the immediate area of our facilities.

Approximate Distances:

  • Entrance of Hynes to Marriott – 0.4 miles inside
  • Marriott to Westin – 0.2 miles inside
  • Hilton to the Fairmont – 0.6 miles on Huntington Ave.
  • Park Plaza from the Fairmont and off the map to the northeast – 0.5 miles

Accessibility Map

Logistical Information about the Facilities

For wheelchair users entering the Hynes from the inside entrance, the ramp into the facility is very steep. Please be cautious when you are going down it. If you are not using a power chair, you might struggle or need some assistance on the way out. Unfortunately, there is not an elevator or lift that could supersede this ramp.

In the Marriott, the elevators do not have standard push buttons. Attendees must use an electronic console to indicate what floor you will travel to. You must know and commit to which floor you need to go to before entering the elevator, as there are not standard buttons on the inside. If desired, there is an option to read each of the options aloud. To utilize this, push the large accessibility icon at the bottom of the panel. Once you hear the floor read aloud you would like to travel to, push the accessibility icon again to select your desired floor. See photo below.

The Hilton is best accessed by exiting the Sheraton’s main entrance outside and crossing Dalton St. at the crosswalk. Proceed on Belvidere St. to the sidewalk that is between the driveway and the side of the hotel’s main entrance.  

When entering the Westin from the outside, on Huntington Ave., the wheelchair curb cutout is on the right side of the entrance. This is the opposite side of where one would be traveling from if coming from the Fairmont.

The doors entering the Fairmont on both St. James Ave. and Dartmouth St. are extremely heavy to open, especially for those in a moveable chair. There is supposed to be a door attendant at each entrance, so it is recommended to wait for one or another person to enter or exit if you are able.

Marriott Elevator Pad

Shuttle Service between the Hynes Convention Center and Other Hotels

There will be a shuttle to and from select hotels: Courtyard Downtown, Doubletree Downtown, Hyatt Regency, Park Plaza, and the Revere Hotel to the Hynes. Attendees who book their hotel through the AAR & SBL registration process will receive a 7-day T (subway) pass on a first-come, first serve basis.

The purpose of these shuttles are to take attendees staying at the above-mentioned hotels to and from the Hynes. There are not any AAR or SBL sessions scheduled at these hotels; however there will be some ‘additional meetings’ and receptions at Park Plaza.

The shuttles are not wheelchair accessible; not all T stations are accessible either. If you need to get to the Park Plaza, you are welcome to use a taxi or car service, per the reimbursement policy below.  For information about T access, see http://www.mbta.com/riding_the_t/accessible_services/default.asp?id=16901. Attendees with accessibility needs should contact reg@aarweb.org to be placed in a hotel that is close to the where the AAR & SBL sessions are, so that you can avoid use of the shuttles.

AAR & SBL Shuttle Hours

Date

AM Shuttle

PM Shuttle

Saturday, 11/18

6 am-10 am

5 pm-9 pm

Sunday, 11/19

6 am-10 am

5 pm-9 pm

Monday, 11/20

6 am-10 am

5 pm-9 pm

Tuesday, 11/21

7:30 am-12:30 pm

N/A

Taxi Reimbursement

AAR & SBL will reimburse attendees with disabilities for the cost of a private taxi or ride-share service to travel between official AAR meeting locations, if needed. To receive the reimbursement, please submit all receipts with a letter detailing the nature of your disability, your departure point, and your destination. Only travel between official Annual Meeting locations (i.e., hotels and convention center) will be covered. Questions may be directed to SShahrak@aarweb.org.

Wheelchair or Electric Scooter Rental

Attendees who wish to rent a wheelchair or electric scooter for use during the Annual Meeting are welcome to contact the following provider to arrange for service:

Boston Orthopedic Respiratory (http://www.aaawheelchair.com/index.html) is offering attendees a special rate for the Annual Meeting. Please be sure to tell them that you are with the AAR & SBL to get the special rate of $105 for a five-day rental for an electric scooter. Manual wheelchairs are available as well—please inquire as to price. Boston Orthopedic Respiratory will deliver and pick up the wheelchair or scooter to your hotel for $20. Please call Seval Yelaun at 617-337-5133 or 800-854-6370 or 857-258-0080 to make individual arrangements. They suggest that you make your reservation as soon as possible to ensure availability.

Onsite Accessibility Issues

Should you encounter an accessibility issue at the Annual Meeting, please notify the hotel’s front desk so they can get the issue resolved. You may also report the problem at the AAR & SBL Registration Desk (located outside of Hall CD in the Hynes Convention Center) Friday 11 am to 6 pm, Saturday through Monday 8 am to 5:30 pm, and Tuesday 8 to 10 am, or email reg@aarweb.org.

Annual Meeting Program Accessibility

ASL Interpreter Services

AAR provides interpreter services for attendees who request ASL interpretation in advance of the meeting. To request interpreter service, contact AAR at annualmeeting@aarweb.org no later than September 1 to ensure that AAR has sufficient time to arrange for appropriate interpreters. If members inform AAR about their anticipated attendance at particular sessions, AAR staff will coordinate with presenters and session presiders to secure advance copies of papers for interpreters.

Assisted Listening System

We can equip any conference meeting room with an assisted listening system. AAR will provide receivers to attendees who request them in advance. If you would like to make use of this service, please email Soraya Shahrak at SShahrak@aarweb.org by November 13.

Assisted listening services will be available in Hynes Convention Center Room 102, the room designated for sessions sponsored by the Religion and Disability Studies Group and the Committee on the Status of People with Disabilities. Advance notice is needed to provide assistive listening device support in any other rooms. If you would like to use the system, please provide us with a schedule of sessions and their room numbers as soon as possible so that the technology can be set up in advance for the sessions.

Accessible Presentations

AAR encourages all presenters and presiders to make their presentations fully accessible to attendees with disabilities.  The following guidelines suggest best practices for accessible presentations: https://www.aarweb.org/annual-meeting/guidelines-for-accessible-presentations.

Materials in Alternative Format

Attendees who need materials in alternative formats should contact the presenters directly. If you need contact information, please email annualmeeting@aarweb.org. If members inform AAR about their needs and their anticipated attendance at particular sessions, AAR staff will do their best to coordinate with presenters and session presiders to facilitate the availability of handouts or other session materials in alternative formats.

Accessibility for Presenters

The room format for AAR sessions commonly includes a podium with a microphone designed for standing presentations. The AAR Plenary room, Sheraton Grand & Independence, and the SBL Plenary room, Marriott Grand Ballroom, Salon EF, will have a riser for the head table. The rest of the head tables will be on the floor. Presenters who need an alternative format (such as a tabletop microphone or podium) or who anticipate a problem with the riser should contact annualmeeting@aarweb.org to arrange for appropriate presentation technology. 

Meeting Room Accessibility

All sessions at the AAR are accessible to attendees using wheelchairs. Meeting room chairs will be arranged to ensure two open spaces for attendees using wheelchairs.

Designated Room for Religion and Disability Studies Group Sessions

AAR has scheduled all sessions sponsored/cosponsored by the Religion and Disability Studies Group and the AAR Status of People with Disabilities in the Profession Committee in the same room at the Hynes Convention Center, Room 102, with the exception of A19-304. We believe that “Recolonizing the Academy Under a Trump Presidency” will draw a larger audience and it has been placed in the AAR Plenary Ballroom, Sheraton Grand & Independence on the second level.

Sighted Guide or Mobility Assistance

Attendees who need a sighted guide or other mobility assistance to navigate the annual meeting should email Soraya Shahrak at SShahrak@aarweb.org by November 13. 

Volunteer to Assist Your Colleagues

Are you able to devote a few hours of your time at the annual meeting to assist a colleague? Please contact Soraya Shahrak at SShahrak@aarweb.org if you are able to serve as a sighted guide or to provide mobility assistance during a portion of the meeting. 

Employment Center Accessibility

AAR is committed to maximizing accessibility for employers and job seekers who are making use of the Employment Center. AAR can arrange for a quiet booth, to minimize noise or distraction from adjacent booths, or may be able to arrange for a private interview room if space is available. If you need a quiet room or have other accessibility needs, please contact careers@aarsbl.org as soon as possible so that we can adequately accommodate you.

Status of People with Disabilities in the Profession Committee

AAR has a Committee on the Status of People with Disabilities in the Profession (PWD), which works to assure the full access of people with disabilities within the Academy and to advance their status within the profession. This year, the PWD Committee will cosponsor two sessions:

  • Toilet Justice: Peeing and the Politics of Marginalized Bodies,” Monday 9 to 11:30 am in Hynes Convention Center 102, cosponsored with the Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession Committee
  • Recolonizing the Academy Under a Trump Presidency,” Sunday 5 to 6:30 pm in Sheraton Grand & Independence, cosponsored with the Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession Committee, the Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities Committee, and the Status of Women in the Profession Committee

The committee will host a luncheon, “Connecting Conversations,” on Monday 11:45 am to 12:45 pm in Hynes Convention Center 302, immediately after the session "Toilet Justice: Peeing and the Politics of Marginalized Bodies.” Registration for the lunch costs $13 and is limited to 60 people. Advanced registration is required and can be done while you are registering online. If you have already completed registration, contact reg@aarweb.org.

The committee will also hold a pre-conference workshop, “Teaching Religion and Disability Studies: Engaging Curriculum and Pedagogy with Intersectionality and Communities” on Friday, from 1 to 5 pm in Hynes Convention Center 102. Registration for the workshop costs $35 and is limited to 30 people. Advanced registration is required and can be done while you are registering online. If you have already completed registration, contact reg@aarweb.org


Accessiblity Information from prior Annual Meetings:
2016 San Antonio
2015 Atlanta
2014 San Diego
2013 Baltimore