Program Units are the organizing research bodies that create the Annual Meeting program each year. AAR has more than 150 program units—a number that reflects the diversity and interdisciplinarity of the field of religious studies. Organized and administered by AAR member volunteers, the program units are charged with issuing the annual call for papers, reviewing the proposals, and organizing the Annual Meeting sessions.
Program Unit Types
Units are established to encourage the exploration of an area of study or methodology, to cultivate the relation between the study of religion and a cognate discipline, or to pursue a long-range and broad research project. Units are expected to experiment with the format of sessions at the Annual Meeting. Units are approved for five-year terms. Renewals are contingent on making the case that the unit’s work needs to continue. Some units may complete their work in five years; others may continue indefinitely. Units meet for two to six sessions, as determined by the Program Committee for each term.
Seminars are highly specific projects driven by a collaborative research agenda leading toward publication. The main role of this unit is to foster such collaborations and to do so, where possible, in a public setting that allows auditors to gain insight into the project, the process, and the people involved. Seminars continue working throughout the year, via exchange of papers, bibliographies and correspondence. They are expected to eventuate in publication(s). Seminars meet for two ninety-minute sessions at each Annual Meeting for a period of five years. Seminar participants (up to twenty) pre-circulate papers and come to the seminar’s Annual Meeting session ready to discuss them, papers should not be read at the session. Auditors who are not among the seminar’s participants are welcome. Seminars are not renewable.