About ADRSAFounded in April 2012, the African and Diasporic Religious Studies Association is dedicated to supporting scholarship and building community. The need for such an organization became evident during a meeting of scholars of African and Diasporic Religions from Harvard University, Boston University, and Boston College at Harvard Divinity School's Center for the Study of World Religions held in October 2011. While there are Area Studies organizations, Religious Studies organizations and Anthropological organizations through which these scholars often network and present their work, all present agreed that an organization dedicated exclusively to the study of these traditions will provide scholars with the opportunity to network more closely with one another and to workshop and present their research in a more nuanced manner.
Additionally, as Jacob Olupona and others have remarked, African and Diasporic Religions have historically been conspicuously absent from the discipline of Religious Studies and inter-religious dialogue. For this reason, although ADRSA is an interdisciplinary consortium, we advocate for the inclusion of these traditions in the Religious Studies dialogue and encourage their analysis using Religious Studies theories, methodologies and frameworks, where applicable.
Finally, we aim to bring down the invisible curtain between scholars and communities by engaging with practitioners of these traditions not only as "informants" but as keepers of knowledge and partners in dialogue. To this end, we welcome scholar-practitioners as well as independent scholars from within communities of practice, and community members are always invited to attend our conferences.