Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion


The Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion, established in 1996, recognizes extraordinary contributions to the public understanding of religion. The award goes to individuals whose work has a relevance and eloquence that speaks, not just to scholars, but more broadly to the public as well. The Marty Award is not a "lifetime achievement award" but instead a recognition of exceptional work that fits the criteria above, at any stage in that person's career.

View a list of past winners.

Nominators must be AAR members. 

Membership in the American Academy of Religion is not required for nominees. 


  • Relevant contributions may involve work with any of a number of specific “publics,” including (but not limited to) educational institutions, foundations, governmental agencies, media (i.e. print, audio and video), museums, business, non-profit and non-governmental organizations, policy and research institutes, think-tanks, etc.; and can be through any medium (e.g., books, films, TV, public speaking, advisory, etc.).

Nomination Instructions

To be eligible for consideration, AAR nominators must complete a nomination form and submit the required nomination materials as outlined below through the AAR Award Nominations Portal.

  • Nomination Letter     
    • A description of why the nominee meets the Marty Award criteria (no more than 1000 words)

Once the nominator submits the nomination form, the AAR Staff will reach out to the nominee to collect a Nomination Packet with the following materials:

  • Nominee's Current CV
  • Nominee's Professional Statement - no more than 2000 words outlining their contributions to the public understanding of religion.

ONLY nominees with a completed nomination packet will be considered. 

Late, emailed, or incomplete nomination forms, nomination letters, or nomination packets cannot be accepted. 

Submit a Nomination

Selection Process

  • Nominations are compiled by AAR staff and discussed by the Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion (CPUR) in its capacity as the award jury. A vote of the committee determines the winner.
  • Nominations are active for two award cycles.
  • The Marty Award is presented to the winner by the CPUR chair at the AAR Annual Meeting in November.




To Be Announced


For any questions, please contact us at [email protected].