Mission Statement for The Study of Islam Section @ the American Academy of Religion The American Academy of Religion is the world's largest learned society and professional association of scholars and teachers in the field of religion. Through academic conferences, publications and a variety of program and membership services, the American Academy of Religion (AAR) fosters excellence in scholarship and teaching. It also aims to advance publication and scholarly communication on religion; to welcome multiple perspectives on the study of religion; to support racial, ethnic and gender diversity within the Academy; and to seek ways to contribute to the public understanding of religion. The AAR's annual meeting is held every year in late November and provides a lively and enabling context for free inquiry, disciplined reflection and scholarly exchange on the world's religions. The Study of Islam section is one of fourteen program units of the AAR and was officially recognized in 1986. It is one of the major sections of the AAR with a long-standing and committed participation of more than a hundred active members. One of the most diverse groups in the AAR, the section's presenters, panelists, and audience represent scholars at all stages of their academic careers. The section also features regular attendance and participation of international scholars from countries including Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, and China. The Study of Islam section serves as a forum for current research on Islam. The annual meeting of the AAR sponsors at least five sessions related to the study of Muslim faith and practice as well as additional individual presentations on Islamic topics in other program units and sessions. The cultural and linguistic diversity, the regional and historical range, and the varieties of methodologies currently used in Islamic Studies make the section's offerings rich and diverse from year to year. The themes of the sessions fall under the following categories: 1. The study of Islamic texts and scriptures; 2. The study of lived Islam in various regions and cultures; 3. Methodology and approaches to the study of Islam; 4. Issues such as gender, liberation theology, human rights; 5. Specializations within Islamic studies including Mysticism, Law, Theology, Philosophy, Shiâ€˜ism. Our policy is to encourage methodological sophistication, ideological diversity and inter-disciplinary discussion in our program. Shared sessions with other program units of the academy have encompassed fields such as Islamic Ethics, Gender, Islamic and Judaic Studies, and Islam and Academic Teaching, and the Study of Religion.
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