AAR Awards and Grants

Virani Wins 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award

headshot of Shafique ViraniThe AAR’s Teaching and Learning Committee is pleased to announce Shafique N. Virani is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award.

Virani is Distinguished Professor of Islamic Studies and chair of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto. He was previously on faculty at Harvard University (from where he also received his PhD) and Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates. He is the author of The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, A Search for Salvation (Oxford University Press, 2007), along with numerous articles and translations and a co-written play in which he also performed. He has taught and volunteered in a variety of global contexts, from universities to impoverished areas in the developing world. His pedagogical innovations include the incorporation of multimedia in the classroom and being the first professor to use the i-Clicker response system to teach religion. He has received several teaching awards and is known as a mentor who provides opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students to join him in cutting-edge research projects.

Virani will make remarks and engage questions and answers during the Special Topics Forum at this year's Annual Meeting in San Diego, California.

Teaching Statement and recent syllabi

Charles Taylor Wins 2014 Martin E. Marty Award

photo of Charles TaylorThe Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion is pleased to announce Charles Taylor, professor emeritus of political science and philosophy at McGill University, is the recipient of the 2014 Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion. Professor Taylor will be interviewed by Miroslav Volf, professor of systematic theology at Yale Divinity School, at this year’s Marty Forum, Sunday, November 23, at the AAR Annual Meeting in San Diego. For the Committee’s full announcement about this year’s winner, please see here. The Marty Award recognizes extraordinary contributions to the public understanding of religion. The Committee encourages and solicits nominations for future Marty Award recipients.

Read the full Marty Award announcement.

Makoto Fujimura Named 2014 Religion and the Arts Award Winner

photo of Mokoto Fujimura. www.makotofujimura.comThe Religion and the Arts Award Jury is happy to announce that Makoto Fujimura is the 2014 award winner.

Fujimura is an artist and writer whose work represents a spiritual and bicultural contemplation of the world. As a Japanese-American, Fujimura was the first non-native to participate in the Japanese painting doctorate program at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts, and having lived and trained in Japan and the US, he has fused western styles with the traditional Nihonga techniques. Fujimura’s work is internationally recognized: he was a presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts from 2003–2009 and he is the founder of the arts advocacy organization International Arts Movement (IAM).

Much of Fujimura’s art is deeply religious. His second book, Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art and Culture, is a collection of essays by contributors of various religious and cultural backgrounds reflecting on art, faith, and the world. Since 2011, his four illuminations of the New Testament gospels have been displayed in museums, galleries, and universities across the US and Japan.

Fujimura will be the featured participant in a Special Topics Forum at this year's Annual Meeting in San Diego on Sunday, November 23, with AAR members Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, Pamela Winfield, and William Dyrness.

2013–2014 Research Grant Winners


John Corrigan, Florida State University
How Do We Study Religion and Emotion?


  • Diana Fritz Cates, University of Iowa
  • Anna Gade, University of Wisconsin at Madison
  • M. Gail Hammer, Syracuse University
  • June McDaniel, College of Charleston
  • Sarah Ross, Universität Bern
  • Donovan Schaefer, Haverford College
  • Linda Woodhead, Lancaster University
  • Mark Wynn, University of Leeds


Julius Bailey, University of Redlands
 “That Hardy Race of Pioneers”: The History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the American West

 Kim Haines-Eitzen, Cornell University
 Listening to the Desert in Late Antiquity: Landscape, Sensory Experience, and the Religious Imagination

 Harold Morales, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
 Latino Muslim by Design: Race, Religion, Media & the Making of Minority Identities in America

 Brian Pennington, Maryville College
 Natural Disaster and Divine Agency: Hindu Theodicies of Climate Change

 Leela Prasad, Duke University
 Moved by Gandhi – A Documentary Film

 Mark Rowe, McMaster University
 Female Priests in Japanese Temple Buddhism

 SherAli Tareen, Franklin and Marshall College
 Islam, Tradition, and Democracy: The Case of the Deoband Madrasa

International Dissertation Research

Deanna Womack, Princeton Theological Seminary
Research destinations: Lebanon, Egypt, and Turkey

Selva J. Raj Endowed International Dissertation Research Fellowship

Jaspreet Kaur, University of Oxford
Research destination: Los Angeles, California


To learn more about the AAR's grant opportunities, visit https://www.aarweb.org/programs-services/grants-awards.

2013–2014 Collaborative International Research Grant Winners

The AAR’s International Connections Committee is pleased to announce the winners of the Collaborative International Research Grant program. This grant program is intended to support generative research collaborations between and among scholars located in different geographical regions who wish to pursue focused, joint projects in any area of the study of religion.  

Congratulations to the winners!

  • Afe Adogame, University of Edinburgh, UK
    Collaborator: Damaris Parsitau, Egerton University, Kenya

The Feminization of New Immigrant African Pentecostal Diasporic Religious Cultures

  • Jesudas Athyal, Boston Theological Institute, US
    Collaborator: Joshua Kalapati, Madras Christian College, India

A Comparative Study of the Identity and Social Distinctions among Indian Christians, at Home and in the Diaspora

  • Holly Gayley, University of Colorado Boulder, US
    Collaborator: Padmatsho, Southwest University for Nationalities, China

Monastic Ideals and Nomadic Lived Realities:  Buddhist Ethical Reform on the Ground in Contemporary Tibet

  • Hwansoo Kim, Duke University, US
    Brian Bocking, University College Cork, Ireland
    Richard M. Jaffe, Duke University, US
    Shin’ichi Yoshinaga, Maizuru National College of Technology, Japan

Asian Buddhism: Plural Colonialisms and Plural Modernities - Workshop #3

  • Joel Lee, Columbia University, US
    Masood Alam Falahi, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti University, India
    Carla Bellamy, Baruch College, US
    Manpreet Kaur, Vysoka Skola Muzickych Umeni Theatre Academy, Slovak Republic

Contesting Untouchability in Islam: the Religious History of Dalit Muslims in India

  • Ariana Maki, University of Colorado Boulder, US
    Collaborator: Yonten Dargye, National Library and Archives of Bhutan, Bhutan

Historical Artists of Bhutan

Awards and Grants Solicitations

Ray L. Hart Service Award

The AAR Board of Directors and Executive Committee invites nominations for the Ray L. Hart Service Award.

The Ray L. Hart Service Award, established by the Board of Directors in 1992, is given to persons whose dedication and service have made significant contributions to the AAR's mission of fostering excellence in the field of religion. 

Prior Awardees:

  • Judith Berling (2005)
  • Harry Buck and Robert V. Smith, given as "Founders Award" (2002)
  • Peter Paris (2001)
  • Austin Creel (1995)
  • Raymond Williams (1994)
  • Ray L. Hart (1993)

The Executive Committee selects the awardee. Nominations may be sent to them through the executive office. To submit a name for consideration, email the name of the nominee, his or her affiliation, and any supporting information to , or send by mail to:

Hart Service Award
American Academy of Religion
825 Houston Mill Road
Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30329


Marty Award Solicitation

The AAR Public Understanding of Religion Committee invites nominations and self-nominations for the Martin E. Marty Award for contributions to the public understanding of religion.

The award is intended to bring greater recognition to scholars whose relevance and eloquence speaks not just to scholars, but more broadly to the public as well. Nominees for this award do not have to be AAR members. For nomination details, please see here.


Excellence in Teaching Award

The Teaching and Learning Committee seeks nominations for the AAR Award for Excellence in Teaching. Nominations of winners of campus awards, or any other awards, are encouraged. Procedures for the nomination process are outlined on the AAR website. The deadline for the 2015 annual award is October 15, 2014.


Individual and Collaborative Research Grants

Did you know that you could receive up to $5,000 in research assistance from the AAR? Since 1992, the Academy has awarded over $590,000 to members for individual and collaborative research projects. The application deadline is August 1st of each year. For application information and eligibility requirements, see https://www.aarweb.org/programs-services/grants-awards.


International Dissertation Research Grants

Applications for the 2014–2015 International Dissertation Research Grants cycle will be accepted August 15, 2014 through December 1, 2014. These annual grants, designed to support AAR student members whose dissertation research requires them to travel outside of the country in which their school or university is located, are intended to help candidates complete their doctoral degrees by offsetting costs of travel, lodging, and other dissertation research-related expenses. For information and to apply, please see http://www.aarweb.org/programs-services/grants-awards.


Collaborative International Research Grant

The American Academy of Religion, a member of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR), is pleased to announce this year's Collaborative International Research Grants competition. This initiative is intended to support generative research collaborations between and among scholars located in different geographical regions who wish to pursue focused, joint projects in any area of the study of religion. Applications for awards ranging from $500 to $5000 will be reviewed by the AAR’s International Connections Committee (ICC).

The ICC encourages creative projects grounded in international research relationships that bring together scholars from disparate backgrounds and methodological approaches to advance our critical research and understanding of religious traditions, practices, and issues. These awards may be used for a variety of project expenses, including to enhance communication and to enable travel. Junior as well as more established scholars are encouraged to apply, as are independent scholars.

The 2014–2015 awards cycle opens on May 1 and closes October 1, 2014. For more information and to apply, visit https://www.aarweb.org/programs-services/collaborative-international-research-grants.


Regional Development Grants

Have you considered applying for a 2014–2015 Regional Development Grant? 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. Where possible, projects are designed so that they may be duplicated or transported to other regions.

Applications should include a narrative description of the project detailing how the project promises to benefit the scholarly and professional life of AAR members and the work of the region. Please include comments on how these projects or activities may be adapted to other regional groups. The application should state the time period covered by the project and provide a detailed budget (office expenses, travel expenses, honoraria, stipend, and other expenses). Institutional overhead costs should not be included in this budget. No grant will exceed $4,000.

Successful grants from prior years can be found here.

August 1, 2014 – Grant proposals due to regional coordinators
September 1, 2014 – Regional coordinators forward grants to Regions Committee
October 15, 2014 – Regional grant awards announced