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:

Registration closed.

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Policy on Public Statements

The American Academy of Religion is a learned society of remarkable diversity. We seek to “Foster Excellence in the Study of Religion,” but from a wide variety of methods, perspectives, institutional affiliations, and ideological, religious, and political commitments. In the course of its governing role, the AAR’s Board of Directors may elect to issue public statements about important matters on behalf of the AAR. From time to time the AAR Board, its President, or its Executive Director, receives requests from AAR members to issue AAR-sanctioned public statements on a particular issue. To ensure that the Board handles all such requests fairly, deliberately, and with dispatch, the Board has adopted the following Policy on Public Statements:

The AAR may issue a public statement when an issue is directly and clearly identified as consistent with the Mission Statement and with Article 2 of the bylaws, which reads “The purpose of the AAR derives from two principal goals: (i.) 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. (ii.) To serve the professional interests of members as students, teachers, and scholars.”

In addition, the Board has adopted the following Procedures to deal with such requests:

1.) As our Mission Statement makes clear, the AAR values “free inquiry,” and acknowledges the rights of members to take stands on public issues as their conscience dictates. An AAR member or a group of AAR members may petition the Board with a request to have the AAR issue a formal public statement about an issue of concern. Such requests should be forwarded to the President or the Executive Director. Requests must provide a clear and compelling rationale for the proposed course of action. This rationale must conform to the Policy on Public Statements, to the AAR’s Bylaws, and to other AAR stated policies. If such a request concerns an alleged breach of academic freedom, a special procedure will be followed (see point 7, below).

2.) On receipt of a request, the President or the Executive Director will forward the request to the AAR’s Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may consult with relevant parties (which might include the petitioners, Committees of the Board, Working Groups, individual AAR members, or outside experts) and will bring a recommendation regarding the request to the Board for its consideration. 

3.) If the Board approves the request, the Executive Committee will draft a public statement and return it to the Board for its consideration. If the Board approves the public statement, the President or the Executive Director will issue the statement in appropriate venues. 

4.) Public statements can be understood as official declarations of the AAR only if they are discussed, drafted, approved, and circulated in accordance with these Procedures. In this and in other Board matters, only the President or the Executive Director is authorized to announce decisions of the Board. 

5.) In general, every effort will be made to follow these Procedures in a timely manner. If need be, the Board will pursue this work under Article V, Section 11 of our Bylaws, which provides a protocol by which the Board can take action in lieu of an in-person meeting: “Section 11. Action without Meeting. Any action required or permitted to be taken by the Board of Directors may be taken without a meeting of the Board (either in-person or by electronic conference) if two-thirds of the total number of Directors shall consent in writing. Such written consent(s) to take action shall be filed with the official minutes of the Board. Any action so taken shall have the same force and effect as action taken at a meeting of the Board of Directors.”

6.) We recognize that some requests may require a rapid response by the Board. In order to expedite a decision, the Executive Committee may act for the Board, as outlined in Article VII, Part I, Section 1 of our Bylaws: “The Executive Committee may act on behalf of the Board of Directors on matters for which a decision is necessary between meetings of the Board. Such action requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the Executive Committee. Notification of all such actions shall be sent in writing to all members of the Board of Directors as soon as practicable, but no later than ten days following such action. The Executive Committee shall report at each Board meeting all actions taken on behalf of the Board.”

7.) The AAR is committed to the many virtues of academic freedom and will advocate for our members whose academic freedom may have been violated. We heartily endorse the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure with 1970 Interpretive Comments, promulgated by the American Association of University Professors, and have developed our own statement on academic freedom, which is revised from time to time. Because allegations of breaches of academic freedom often pose emergency situations, in which a scholar’s employment or reputation might be at stake, the AAR will act with particular dispatch to address these situations. When either the President or the Executive Director receives a request to address an alleged breach of academic freedom, he or she will immediately forward the request to the AAR Executive Committee, which will serve as the Academy’s ad hoc Academic Freedom Committee. (The Executive Committee is made up of AAR member-elected Officers: The President, President-Elect, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.) Within twenty-one working days of receiving such a request, the Executive Committee will review the 1940 Statement of Principles and the AAR Statement on Academic Freedom, may interview the aggrieved member, make other relevant inquiries, and come to a judgment about a course of action. Such actions may take several forms. The Committee may elect to take no action; a letter of concern about a member’s complaint may be sent to his or her institution; a public statement about the case may be issued; or further inquiry may be undertaken. Any public statements will conform to our Policy on Public Statements, noted above.  Under normal circumstances, the Executive Committee, working within the twenty-one-day deadline, will seek Board approval of its decision. Given the urgency of the matter, the Executive Committee may elect to act for the Board, as outlined in Article VII, Part I, Section 1 of our Bylaws. If the Board or Executive Committee takes action on an academic freedom matter, such action will be announced on the AAR website within two business days.

(Board resolution, April 2015)