In the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Mark Juergensmeyer, former president of the AAR and co-editor of Rethinking Secularism (forthcoming from Oxford University Press), weaves together a brief history of the organization and an account of the transformation of religious studies over the past hundred years. From the abstract:
The AAR as an organization has changed over the years, and the study of religion has evolved from a focus on words and war to a global era in which the very idea of religion in a European and American sense is being challenged. Though the meaning of “religion” may be contested, the field of religious studies continues to provide an epistemic worldview analysis of phenomena and perceptions. The field of religious studies is at the forefront of a sociotheological turn in the liberal arts—an increasing awareness of the spiritual and moral dimension of all of public life—that will help us understand the religiosity of the emerging global society of the future.
Read the entire essay here.