About The Society for the Anthropology of Religion

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion (SAR) is a section of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). We seek to facilitate the research and teaching of the anthropology of religion.

We wish to support anthropological approaches to the study of religion from all the subdisciplines: cultural anthropology, archaeology, physical anthropology, linguistic anthropology and others. We also intend to encourage and help provide avenues for enhanced communication among scholars sharing the interests of anthropology and religion. When you join AAA or renew your membership, you can become a member of SAR by selecting it as one of your sections.

Each year we host sessions at the annual meeting of the AAA and every other year hold a conference on the anthropology of religion, including the Roy Rappaport Lecture. We also publish a book series, Contemporary Anthropology of Religion, with Palgrave-Macmillian. Every year, we honor an outstanding recent book in our field with the Clifford Geertz Prize.

There are a number of ways to serve your colleagues in SAR. SAR is governed by four officers, the immediate past president or president-elect (as available), and eight members-at-large, at least one of whom is a student. The current members of the executive committee are listed here.

And we always welcome new members! You become a member of SAR when you join AAA or renew your membership and select it as one of your sections. Feel free to contact the officers, or sign up for our listserv.

The History of SAR

SAR grew out of three groups of anthropologists studying religion. In 1997, the Anthropology of Religion Section (ARS) formed within AAA combining the Anthropology of Religion Interest Group within AAA, the Society for the Anthropology of Religion (an independent non-profit organization), and an informal group of anthropologists who were working separately toward the formation of a section. In January 2000, the name was changed to Society for the Anthropology of Religion (SAR), a new society with a different organization having the same name as one of the original founding groups.

The formation of a society for the anthropology of religion has been an exciting development which has made several contributions to AAA, and will hopefully continue to energize the field in the years ahead.