Board Action Regarding Independent Annual Meetings
April 14, 2008
Dear Fellow Members of the American Academy of Religion:
I write today to alert you to an action taken by your Board of Directors at its meeting this past weekend.
In light of the scheduling and logistical problems connected with the proposed Independent Annual Meetings, and given the views our members expressed in our recent member survey, the Board, in its April 12, 2008 meeting, approved a recommendation that the AAR begin scheduling concurrent, yet independent Annual Meetings with the Society of Biblical Literature as soon as is feasible. Assuming that the SBL is agreeable to meeting concurrently, it is our intention that such meetings would feature:
A return to the traditional meeting time, on the weekend before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday;
An AAR Program (and Program Book) that is entirely separate from the SBL’s;
If desirable, a single, jointly sponsored Book Exhibit and a single, jointly sponsored employment interview center;
The invitation to and inclusion of other scholarly groups that may wish to meet concurrently with the AAR;
An arrangement whereby AAR members could participate freely in sessions and programs of the SBL (and other scholarly organizations with which the AAR has entered into concurrent meeting arrangements), and vice versa, with no additional registration fees; and
Consultation with the Finance Committee, prior to entering into jointly sponsored ventures with the SBL, to ensure that the AAR’s financial interests are protected.
The Board concluded that such a plan:
Supports the views of the majority of our members;
Represents a genuine compromise among the views of our members on this contentious subject;
Fosters many of the goals sought in Independent Annual Meetings;
Allows departments, schools, universities, and other societies to use concurrent meetings for breakfasts, receptions, and other special events aimed at both AAR and SBL members; and
Promotes the continuing health of our organization.
I will share additional developments about concurrent meetings with you as they are available. Until then, thank you for your participation in the work of our Academy.
This is certainly good news for me, as someone whose primary research and teaching area make membership in SBL my natural home, but also teaches and writes on other subjects that are more at home in AAR.