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About Us

The American Academy of Religion

Founded in 1909, the American Academy of Religion (AAR) is the world's largest association of scholars of religion. The AAR promotes research, publishing and teaching about religion in academia. The AAR neither endorses nor rejects any religious belief or practice.

Purpose

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.

Incorporation and Funding

The AAR is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization with a budget around $2.9 million. Typically, about a third of the revenue comes from contributions and grants, a third from its annual meeting, a fourth from membership dues, and the remainder from royalties, books, and advertising.

In addition to $1,810,000 in grants from The Pew Charitable Trusts to create and maintain Religionsource, the AAR has also received grants of over $100,000 from the Ford Foundation, The Henry Luce Foundation, Lilly Endowment Inc., and National Endowment for the Humanities. The Henry Luce Foundation was the main benefactor in the construction of the Luce Center building, which houses the AAR offices. The AAR holds half ownership in the building, which is valued at about $4.5 million, including a $500,000 endowment provided by the foundation for its continued maintenance.

Leadership

AAR Corporate Officers

Laurie Zoloth
AAR President
Northwestern University

Thomas Tweed
AAR President-Elect
University of Notre Dame

Serene Jones
AAR Vice President
Union Theological Seminary

Warren G. Frisina
AAR Secretary
Hofstra University

Linda A. Moody
Treasurer
Mount St. Mary's College

John R. Fitzmier
Executive Director

Chair of the AAR Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion

Michael Kessler
Georgetown University

Affiliations

Annual Meeting

The gathering of some 10,000 scholars of religion at the AAR's Annual Meeting is the world's largest of its kind. Journalists often find attending a useful way to make contacts and pick up story ideas. The 2014 meeting will be held in San Diego, November 22-25. To find out about attending, click here.

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American Academy of Religion