Book Awards – Rules
Awards for Excellence in the Study of Religion
Deadline for Submissions: February 10
In order to give recognition to new scholarly publications that make significant contributions to the study of religion, the American Academy of Religion offers Awards for Excellence. The Awards honor works of distinctive originality, intelligence, creativity and importance, books that affect decisively how religion is examined, understood, and interpreted.
Awards for Excellence are given in four categories:
Constructive-Reflective Studies: Works of contemporary ethics, philosophy, interpretation, theology or analogous forms of critical reflection.
Historical Studies: Works that focus on the history of a particular religion or religions in a specific historical period or geographical area.
Analytical-Descriptive Studies: Works of analysis or theory that focus on religion as an object of enquiry or on its typical components, such as myth, ritual, or tradition.
Textual Studies: Works that focus on the analysis, interpretation, or translation of a particular text or group of texts in the study of religion.
Nomination and Award Procedures
- Nominations may be submitted by any person or institution with the exception of the competition Chair and Jurors. An initial preview copy of each volume nominated should be sent directly to the AAR office at:
American Academy of Religion
825 Houston Mill RD NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
- The evaluation process has two stages:
First, the Chair screens nominations to determine which books should be considered by the Juries. The Chair contacts the publishers to request shipment to the appropriate Jurors.
Second, Juries for each of the four categories evaluate the books that have been screened by the Chair. Members of the Juries confer in June and July to make their final judgments.
- Publishers must identify someone in their publishing house who will serve as contact and will send that name and her/his e-mail address to the AAR offices, along with a nomination letter and the book. The Chair will ask that additional copies be sent to Jury members if the book is short-listed for consideration. Publishers should insure that the short-listed books have reached their proper destinations. Publishers are solely responsible for confirming that all the relevant Jurors have received copies of short-listed books; if a Juror fails to receive a copy of a book, it may be seriously disadvantaged in the competition.
- A brief rationale should be enclosed with each nomination; this is considered the nomination letter. In which category should the work be considered? Why is the work outstanding in its field? How does it differ from established classics? If several nominations are made, a rationale for each book should be provided on a separate page, which will be sent to Jurors if the book is chosen for additional review. The AAR reserves the right to assign an award category that best fits the book’s subject matter.
- The competition will not favor works of multiple authorship, reprints, or individual volumes in multivolume projects. If such volumes are nominated, detailed justification is required in the covering letter. No proof copies, bound or unbound, will be considered.
- The award year begins February 11 and ends February 10 of the following year. A work may be nominated if its publication date is within one year of the award year; no work is eligible for resubmission in subsequent competitions. Deadline for all nominations: February 10.
- The AAR President, upon consultation with the Executive Director and Chair, appoints as Jurors AAR members who have a broad grasp of religious studies, who are recognized for their expertise in one or more of its subfields, and whose fairness and critical judgment are widely respected in the profession. Jurors serve for four years, without compensation except for receiving copies of the short-listed books. Any Juror who has been involved in the production of a book nominated for an award will be recused. Recommendations of persons who might serve as Jurors may be made directly to the AAR Offices at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Competition for AAR Awards for Excellence is open to all books of distinction in the academic study of religion. An author’s membership in the AAR is not a necessary condition for successful participation. The current value of each Award is $1,000. One award is given per category per calendar year, provided the critical number of books for consideration is received in that particular category.
- Results are declared in July and will be announced in the Program Book of the AAR Annual Meeting, in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and on the AAR website. Winners will be notified formally by the AAR Executive Director or Chair, who will organize, when possible, review sessions during the Annual Meeting, and who will present the awards to winning authors at the Annual Meeting.
- After the awards have been announced, each winning publisher will be asked to send not later than September 15 two cloth copies of the book to the AAR Executive Offices for use in promoting the award. In addition, each winning author will be asked to supply a photograph of the author (preferably .png or .jpeg image) for use in announcing the awards at the Awards Ceremony at the Annual Meeting, in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and on the AAR website: www.aarweb.org.
All correspondence regarding the competition and copies of all books nominated should be directed in the first instance to the AAR Offices:
American Academy of Religion
825 Houston Mill RD NE Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30329