Arihanta Institute at the 2024 Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion

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Arihanta Institute at the 2024 Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion
By Christopher Miller, PhD

An Update from Christopher Miller, VP of Academic Affairs


Each year, the American Academy of Religion (AAR) holds its Annual Meeting. From November 23-26, 2024, thousands of scholars will once again gather for this conference in San Diego for the largest and most prestigious meeting of scholars of religion held globally. The AAR will also be hosting, for the first time ever since the pandemic, an online conference from June 25-27, 2024, to allow scholars who might not otherwise be able to participate in the AAR to present their research online.


Arihanta Institute’s faculty are actively engaged in the AAR’s Online Conference and Annual Meeting and will be both presenting and presiding over a number of activities. Along with distinguished scholar of Modern Yoga Studies Anya Foxen (Cal Poly SLO), Arihanta Institute’s own Professor Christopher Jain Miller is the co-chair of the AAR’s Yoga in Theory and Practice Unit. Professor Foxen and Professor Miller collaborate to oversee the organization of the Unit’s annual programming, including panels, roundtables, and other events at both the online and in-person events. 


Miller, along with his Arihanta Institute colleague Professor Cogen Bohanec, are also on DĀNAM’s steering committee, which holds its own annual conference at the AAR.


Arihanta Institute at the AAR’s Summer Online Conference

Professor Christopher Jain Miller will participate in the online session “Alternative Career Paths in Religious Studies: Roundtable Discussion with Scholar-Entrepreneurs in the Field of Yoga Studies,” presided by Allyson Huval from Georgetown University.


On a roundtable with 4 other scholars in the field of Yoga Studies, Professor Miller will discuss how a spirit of mutually enhancing collaboration forms the cornerstone of an entrepreneurial academic career, highlighting how the co-founding of Arihanta Institute was undertaken in collaboration with members of the global Jain community. In this regard, Miller will also share his concurrent research as Visiting Researcher at the University of Zürich’s Asien-Orient-Institut where he completed his recent book Embodying Transnational Yoga: Eating, Singing, and Breathing in Transformation (Routledge 2024) and where he is currently performing research for the co-edited volume Engaged Jainism: Critical and Constructive Approaches to the Study of Jain Social Engagement (SUNY Forthcoming). Finally, Miller will discuss his teaching role as Visiting Professor at Claremont School of Theology where he co-developed and co-runs a remotely available Masters Degree Program focusing on Engaged Jain Studies, Jain Yoga, and Modern Yoga Studies in collaboration with Arihanta Institute.


Arihanta Institute at the AAR’s November in-person meeting

In the November 2024 in-person AAR Meeting in San Diego, Professor Miller will participate on a panel titled “New Books in Modern Yoga Studies.” Here, Miller’s new book Embodying Transnational Yoga, along with three other groundbreaking monographs in the field of Modern Yoga Studies, will be publicly reviewed by scholars in the field. Along with his colleagues, Miller will respond to reviewers’ comments and engage in dialogue with thought leaders in the field.


Arihanta Institute’s Professor Jonathan Dickstein will also give a presentation regarding a Jainism-inspired case for ‘freeganism’ under consumer capitalism on a panel titled “Religion and Veganism: Critical Perspectives.” Co-sponsored by the AAR’s Animals and Religion Unit and Religion and Food Unit, this panel offers critical perspectives on animal ethics, food politics, and social justice within the context of religious belief, practice, and community. Professor Dickstein provides a much-needed contribution from the Jain perspective to round out this panel’s offering.


Come meet Arihanta Institute at the AAR!


Whether you decide to join in-person at the November AAR or to attend the online conference in June, please be sure to come say hello to Arihanta Institute’s faculty at the AAR’s 2024 events!