2020 Regional Meetings

Open Registration:

All remaining regional meetings for 2020 have been canceled

New Members Guide to the 2017 Annual Meeting

Atlanta 2017 Annual Meeting Banner

Why Attend the AAR Annual Meeting?
Basic Timeline for the Meeting
Navigating the Meeting
Planning Your Schedule
Types of Sessions
Book Exhibit
Employment Center
Other Services Available at the Annual Meeting
How Do I Present at the Meeting?
Registration, Hotels, and Flights
International Members
What to Pack
After the Meeting
Further Resources about the Annual Meeting

Why Attend the AAR Annual Meeting?

  • Present your work to receive valuable feedback.
  • Listen to papers and plenary sessions to stay up to date on scholarly trends.
  • Participate in business meetings to shape the direction of your subfield.
  • Attend roundtables and workshops for professional development advice.
  • Enjoy receptions as a chance to network with other scholars.
  • Visit the Book Exhibit to receive publisher discounts and see what books are new in your research and teaching areas.
  • Utilize the Employment Center to view job postings and interview with employers.
  • Explore a new city!
  • Once you become involved, you can volunteer to serve on committees in your field.

Basic Timeline for the Meeting

  • January: Call for Papers posted.
  • Early March: Proposal submission deadline.
  • Springtime: Get the lowest rates for registration before rate increases begin.
  • Mid-July: Program published online.
  • Late October: Preregistration for the Employment Center ends. You may register on-site.
  • Late October: Mobile app of program available for download.
  • Late November: Annual Meeting, with on-site registration available.
  • For further details:

Navigating the Meeting

Planning Your Schedule

  • Using the online Program Book, search for keywords to see all of the sessions addressing your interests, or search for the names of scholars that you would like to see present:
    You can also search by selecting one of the special tags, such as “Especially for Students,” “Books Under Discussion,” or “Receptions.”
  • While you might want to attend events all day, you should also consider leaving some free time in your schedule. This will allow you to visit the Book Exhibit, mingle with other scholars, explore the city, and give your brain a break.
  • After determining your session schedule, consider arranging to meet with scholars in your field. Schedules fill up quickly, so ask early for that coffee or lunch date.
  • Enter your schedule on the Mobile App, which is also available via the web if you don't use a smartphone or tablet.

Types of Sessions

  • Preconference workshops are held on the Friday of the conference weekend and cost an additional fee. For a list of this year’s workshops, visit:
  • AAR New Members’ Breakfast, session A18-2, Saturday, 7:30–8:45 am, is an opportunity to enjoy a continental breakfast with other new members and members of the Board of Directors. 
  • AAR Annual Business Meeting, session A19-1, Sunday, 7:30–8:45 am, is open to all members as an opportunity to share feedback and hear important updates. There is also a separate Graduate Student Business Meeting and New Member Welcome, session A19-100, Sunday, 9:00–9:30 am, for student-specific feedback.
  • Plenary Sessions are arranged on topics of concern to all AAR members and include speakers at the top of their fields. They are often organized around a theme chosen by the AAR president.
  • Paper Sessions are the most common session at the AAR. They generally consist of a panel of paper presenters, each speaking for 15–20 minutes on a common theme and often followed by a respondent. Question and answer periods open to the audience often follow. It is acceptable and common to attend a panel for a specific paper and then leave, so long as you are not disruptive. If there is a speaker that directly relates to your research, you may also approach them after the panel to introduce yourself.
    The presenters in sessions tagged with the papers symbol (left) have agreed to post their papers on the AAR website prior to the Annual Meeting and devote the majority of their session time to discussion, rather than the reading of papers. These papers will be posted on a secure page on the AAR website that is available to AAR members only and is inaccessible to search engines. Papers will be removed after the Annual Meeting. If you are interested in attending any of these sessions, please check the AAR website after November 1 to view the papers.
  • Roundtable Sessions consist of a number of speakers brought together to speak on a shared topic. They often do not have individual paper titles.
  • Program Unit Business Meetings are held during the conference following one of the units’ sessions. These informal meetings are meant to gather ideas for the next Call for Papers. They are listed in the Program Book and are open to ALL MEMBERS interested in the unit’s topic. You are encouraged to attend the business meetings for the units that align with your research areas in order to get to know others in your subfields and let them know of your interests.
  • Receptions are hosted in the evenings by a variety of universities, centers, and other institutions. While they often draw alumni, these are great opportunities to network while enjoying available appetizers and drinks.
  • Women’s Mentoring Lunch, session A19-141, Sunday, 11:45 am–12:45 pm, is an opportunity for graduate students and new scholars to have lunch with womanist, feminist, and LGBTIQ midcareer and senior scholars. Nominal fee and preregistration required.
  • People with Disabilities Lunch, session A20-149, Monday, 11:45 am–12:45 pm, follows a special topics forum on disabilities and provides a place for informal conversations and making connections with colleagues. Nominal fee and preregistration required.
  • Academic Labor and Contingent Faculty Working Group Lunch, session A18-145, Saturday, 11:45 am–12:45 pm, is for part-time, full-time, and non-tenure-track faculty and their allies to network and discuss best practices for career growth, identify and overcome obstacles to scholarship, and provide other up-to-date information on areas of concern. Nominal fee and preregistration required.
  • Lounges are available for several types of members. At this year's meeting, there will be a Student Lounge, located in the Hynes Convention Center - 303; a Women’s Lounge, Hynes Convention Center - 305; and an International Members Lounge, Sheraton Boston - Exeter A. Members of these groups are welcome to use these rooms to relax and mingle, and some refreshments are available. Roundtable series are also held in the Student Lounge and Women’s Lounge, as listed in the program.
  • The Annual Meeting also hosts a number of professional development events, such as the Especially for Students events, employment-related events, events on teaching hosted by the Teaching and Learning Committee or the Wabash Center, and much more!

Book Exhibit

  • The Exhibit Hall hosts more than 130 publishers. While some people like to spend hours perusing these book displays, you might want to seek out the publishers that you use in your research and teaching. Look at your bookshelves to see which publishers produce your favorites, and then use the directory within the Exhibit Hall to find their displays.
  • Publishers here offer discounts, often between 15–30%. You can take advantage of these by buying books at the exhibit, or, if you do not have room in your suitcase, by picking up an order form that includes the discount and a deadline for its use. On Monday afternoon there are often additional price drops before the exhibit closes.
  • If you have a book project, the Exhibit Hall is also an opportunity to speak with publishers specializing in the field of religion. You can do this by stopping by their booth or emailing them in advance to request an appointment during the Annual Meeting. A list of the publishers exhibiting at this year's meeting is here:

Employment Center

  • Some services of the Employment Center are available to all AAR members and Annual Meeting registrants. These include access to the online Employment Listings and the ability to be interviewed at the AAR if you have been invited by a potential employer in advance. These are the most common type of interviews, called prearranged interviews, and they do not require that you be registered for the Employment Center. However, candidate registration for the Employment Center is free, so be sure to register and take advantage of the services available there.
  • Additional services available for those who register with the Employment Center include: the ability to post your CV for potential employers to see, the ability to communicate with potential employers through an online messaging center, and the opportunity to take advantage of “open interview opportunities” with select employers who do not require applications in advance of the Annual Meeting. For more details, visit:

Other Services Available at the Annual Meeting

How Do I Present at the Meeting?

  • The Call for Papers is posted in January and includes specific instructions for how to submit a proposal. Each program unit issues a separate call for submissions based on their current interests.
  • You are allowed to submit two proposals per year. You may submit a proposal for an individual paper and/or an entire roundtable or papers session. Submissions are due by the beginning of March and those selected to present will be informed by the beginning of April. For more on this process:
  • When preparing a proposal, read the unit’s Call for Papers closely. While the number of papers received varies by unit, it is often a highly competitive process, so make sure that your proposal is clear, thorough, engaging, original, and well written.
  • To arrange a panel, consider inviting scholars at various stages in their career. This can be an excellent opportunity to network and develop a line of scholarly inquiry.
  • If you are accepted, practice your paper out loud several times to make sure that it fits within the allotted time. For tips on proposal writing and presenting, visit:

Registration, Hotels, and Flights

  • Register for the conference early so that you can receive the lowest rates. Besides timing, rates are also based on your status. Nonmembers have the highest rates while students, retired members, and partners receive discounted rates.
  • During registration, you can reserve a hotel room at a special rate. Refer to the hotel map, rates, and amenities to select your hotel. Some even offer complimentary Wi-Fi and breakfast!
  • During registration, you can reserve a spot in preconference workshops, which require an additional fee. You can also pay for tours or other special events.
  • Attendees can receive a travel discount with Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and Budget Car Rental. The discount codes, as well as other transportation tips, are available here:

International Members

  • Travel to the United States: See for detailed information and tips for international travelers.
  • Travel Visa statement: See for important links to information on Visa resources and processes.
  • International Members Lounge: This is a specially designated space for international members to relax and greet each other during the Annual Meeting. The lounge is located in the Exeter A room at the Sheraton Boston.
  • International Members Reception: By invitation, attend the reception (session A18-400, Saturday, 6:30-7:30 pm) for international members of the AAR. Winners of the Collaborative International Research Grants will be honored.
  • Need Help? Staff at the AAR Member Services desk, located in the registration area of the Convention Center, will be able to assist you. For questions and concerns about international membership with the AAR, and to provide feedback about how we can better serve international members, you may e-mail Amy Allocco (, Chair of the International Connections Committee, before, during, and after the Annual Meeting.

What to Pack

  • Attire is business casual: slacks, button-down tops, sweaters, blazers, skirts, blouses, and comfortable business shoes. However, presenters often dress very professionally on the days of their presentations or interviews. We also recommend you dress in layers as temperatures in meeting rooms can vary.
  • Professional-looking business cards.
  • Notebook or laptop for taking notes.
  • An ample supply of snacks, because the lines for the closest coffee and food locations can be long and you might need to rush between sessions.
  • An umbrella.
  • You might need a winter coat, depending on the location.

After the Meeting

Further Resources about the Annual Meeting

Special thanks to Kristy L. Slominski, AAR Student Director (2014–2015), for creating this guide for our new members!