The director of the Elon Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society joins the governing body of international scholarly society.
Brian Pennington, professor of religious studies and director of the Elon Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society, was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) in a national election in October. The 12-member board governs the world’s largest scholarly society dedicated to the academic study of religion, with more than 8,000 members.
Pennington joins the board as the AAR’s Regions Director, overseeing and facilitating the work of the AAR’s ten regional affiliates in the US and Canada. Each region is a separately incorporated body that holds its own annual conference in the spring. Regional meetings complement the Annual Meeting of the AAR itself, which takes place every November concurrently with the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), hosting more than 10,000 scholars from around the world.
Pennington’s term, which begins in January 2021, will be his third following his service on the Board from 2007-2012. He has also served on multiple committees for the AAR and currently chairs its national Committee on Teaching and Learning. Under his leadership and in the light of the many crises that 2020 has brought to light, that committee has produced two web-based workshops on anti-racist pedagogies featuring national experts and helped to develop “A Proven Practice”—a peer-reviewed collection of teaching notes for pandemic online and hybrid teaching techniques.
As the AAR’s Regions Director, he hopes to assist the regions in their adaptation to the unexpected professional environment ushered in by recent national events and resulting stresses on higher education.