RISA Home Page

RISA Mission



The Religion in South Asia Section is part of the American Academy of Religion.


RISA’s work is guided by its mission statement, which was originally written by the RISA steering committee in 2000, and

subsequently revised by the RISA steering committees in 2005, 2010, and 2015.


RISA’s mission is to provide a venue for new and important research in the many

religious cultures, texts and histories of South Asia. Within the area of South

Asia, all world religions exist in unique forms, from religions that originated in

India such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Tantra and tribal religions,

to religions that have taken on long-standing and distinctive forms in South Asia,

such as Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. The focus of RISA’s

work is thus on a geographical area, the religious, cultural and intellectual

traditions of that area, and changes that have occurred in those traditions over

several millennia. Scholars of South Asia explore the distinctive manifestations of

religious traditions in the subcontinent, their interactions, and their movements to

and expressions in other parts of the world. RISA encourages contextualizing

religion within debates on a broad array of parallel and intersecting issues, such

as (but not limited to) politics, secularism, literature, philology, globalization,

modernity, colonialism and post-colonialism, history, society, media, popular

culture, material and visual culture, and economics. The scholarship sponsored

by RISA at the annual AAR meetings often emphasizes sessions and papers that

look at more than one tradition, and so frequently entail some degree of

comparative approach.




Top of Page | RISA Home Page


Revised: November 21, 2010