2021 Annual Meeting

Dual Format to Include In-Person Sessions and Limited Virtual Sessions

Meeting Will Prioritize Health and Safety

The American Academy of Religion is happy to announce a dual format for the 2021 Annual Meeting, November 20-23. We will provide in-person sessions in San Antonio along with a limited number of virtual sessions.

Our decision for a dual format meeting came after hearing from members and investigating the various options for the meeting.  We heard from many members who said they were looking forward to an in-person meeting in San Antonio.  We also heard from some members who said, for a variety of reasons, they would not be able to travel this year.  In response, we explored models that would allow members to participate in the conference in accordance with their needs and concluded that a dual format is the most viable solution. Our dual format meeting plan is not as comprehensive as we would like; while members who are in-person will have access to all sessions (in-person and virtual), virtual participants will have access only to the virtual sessions, with recorded sessions remaining available through January 2022.  We would prefer to offer a fully hybrid meeting (concurrent virtual and in-person meetings) but this option is not financially feasible.  The meeting rooms do not have the technological capacity for mounting a fully hybrid meeting and adding that technology as well as other considerations would mean spending an additional $4.3M.  We could not cover such an increase without raising registration fees to unreasonable amounts.
As we prepare for the in-person portion of our 2021 Annual Meeting, we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our members, following guidance of government and health officials.
The dual format meeting offers exciting possibilities and also introduces logistical and financial challenges. We will keep you updated as we finalize details.  Meanwhile, look for an announcement soon about registration, first for the in-person meeting and then for the virtual meeting.  Program Unit chairs will receive a communication about how the new format may be utilized in session planning.
We are excited about the opportunities this meeting will provide for scholarly engagement and networking and look forward to offering the best experience possible.


Alice Hunt
Executive Director

Frequently Asked Questions


  • When does registration open?
    Registration will open in the coming days. Please be on the lookout for announcements from AAR and SBL indicating that registration has opened.
  • I am unable to come to San Antonio. Is there is special registration for only the virtual sessions?
    Yes, there will be a special registration that includes only the virtual component of the meeting. Details on this registration, including rates, will be available soon.
  • Does registering for the in-person meeting also include access to the virtual sessions?
    Yes, registration for the in-person meeting includes the ability to view and participate in virtual sessions as well as in-person sessions.  


  • What types of sessions will be offered?
    The meeting will consist of two types of sessions: in-person sessions taking place in San Antonio and virtual sessions that take place online.
  • Will virtual sessions be available to view after the fact?
    Yes. Virtual sessions will have the option to be recorded and made available through 31 January 2022. The recording availability of a specific session will depend on the presenters granting permission for that session to be recorded.
  • Why are hybrid sessions (i.e., session available both in-person and virtually) not an option?
    Hybrid sessions are not possible due to the extreme complexity and expense of needing to setup and run about 1200 sessions in over 130 rooms spread across six different properties. Between added A/V equipment, labor, and internet access, staging and supporting a hybrid meeting would add over $4,000,000 in expenses to the meeting. The resulting dramatic rise in registration rates would make attendance impossible for most members.


  • How do I know whether my presentation will be in an in-person or virtual session?
    Session can only be virtual if all presenters agree to present virtually. Please be in contact with the chairs of the program unit where you are to present to discuss any updates to plans.
  • Can I present remotely for an in-person session?
    No. All presenters and participants for in-person session must be on-site. We are not able to offer virtual presentations for in-person sessions.
  • Can I present in or view virtual sessions if I am going to be in San Antonio?
    Yes. However, you will be responsible for providing your own equipment and access to the internet.

Additional Questions

Meeting Info

Dates: November 21-23, 2021

Where: San Antonio, TX, and via a Virtual Platform

Registration: TBA