As the 2022-2023 President of the American Academy of Religion, Western Region (AAR/WR), I am delighted to invite you to be a part of the AAR/WR, the largest and most diverse region of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). We are especially excited this year as we prepare to meet in-person at the University of California, Davis, whose Religious Studies Department has graciously offered to host AAR/WR's Annual Conference March 24-26, 2023. Information on our conference theme and annual Call for Papers (CFP) may be found here.
I am a scholar activist with a Ph.D. in American Religious History from Claremont Graduate University and a Dual-Master's Degree from Claremont Graduate University. In 2020, I was elected to the West Hollywood City Council as a Councilmember and have also served as a National Board member of the National Organization for Women, a Board member of the Women's March Los Angeles Foundation, as well as President of the ACLU Southern California.
In both my academic and service roles, I work to advance policies, initiate programs, and increase awareness around LGBTQ+ rights, women's rights, the environment and civic engagement. It is my pleasure to work with AAR/WR's Executive Committee (EC) and Board of Directors as we prepare for our 2023 conference, and I am particularly enthusiastic about the 2023 conference theme, "Civil Rights, Religion and Responsibility: What is the Role Religion Plays in Civil Rights Discourses in 2022 and Beyond", which Dr. Marie Cartier, AAR/WR's 2022-2023 Vice President and Program Chair, has prepared for the region.
As I think about my role in the academy, and how I've often struggled with choosing the path (scholar or activist) I find myself very excited about the possible future of our region as well as for the 2023 conference. Like many of you, I have found the academy to be very frustrating. From the lack of jobs, funding, and the sheer exclusive nature of the elusive "tenure" position, I see my friends struggle with this very choice as well. However, the best part of knowledge (and our region) is we consist of multiple people, just like myself, who have decided to not "choose" and most importantly converge scholarship and activism into one and that is why, in my opinion, we're the best region out there.
I look forward to this year's conference and hearing all the sessions discuss the important role religion plays in civil rights discourses in 2022 and beyond and particularly seeing you all in-person for the first time in 3 years.
Thank you and I look forward to seeing all of you this year at AAR/WR's Annual Conference! John M. Erickson, Ph.D. email@example.com 2022-2023 President, American Academy of Religion, Western Region