Monday, April 28, 2008

AAR & SBL - together again?

The AAR has finally come to its senses and decided that it's okay for the AAR and SBL to hold their Annual Meetings at the same time of the year and in the same city.

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....

I cancelled my membership in the AAR because of its unilateral decision to stop organizing Annual Meetings together with the SBL. I learned of this decision because of an e-mail from the SBL:

The SBL Council discussed this announcement at its meeting on April 26, 2008, and offers the following comment to SBL members.

We are pleased to hear of this new development, and wish to reaffirm our continued interest in meeting at the same time and in the same city as the AAR. The SBL was not involved in the original decision by AAR; nor have we been involved in the present one. We will certainly discuss with AAR the feasibility of meeting in the same city at the traditional time (the weekend before US Thanksgiving) as soon as it is possible given present scheduling commitments and contractual arrangements. We are already scheduled through 2012 (Chicago) and 2013 (Baltimore). Once discussions commence with AAR regarding future concurrent meetings, the SBL Executive Director will report regularly on the progress in making this a practical reality. We firmly believe that holding the SBL Annual Meeting at the same time and in the same city as other organizations involved in the advancement of biblical, religious, theological, and related academic studies is a good idea. It brings together people from diverse disciplines and backgrounds to exchange ideas and build relationships.

Great! It made no sense to stop holding the meetings together, and I hope that the two associations will start working immediately to make the joint meetings possible again.

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