The Southwest Commission on Religious Studies was established in 1974 to encourage, support, and coordinate scholarly activities in the field of religious studies in the Southwest. The Commission serves as the umbrella organization for the regional American Academy of Religion, American Schools of Oriental Research, Association for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Society of Biblical Literature. The Commission is supported by membership and sponsoring institutions. Only faculty or staff from sponsoring institutions are eligible for nomination to receive the John G. Gammie Distinguished Scholar Award and the Junior Scholar Grant.
The annual meeting of the Commission brings together 300-400 scholars and graduate students, along with major publishers in the fields of religious studies. Several Related Scholarly Organizations join the Member Organizations for major plenary speeches, seminars, and working research panels.
The Commission is directed by a board composed of representatives from the four Member Organizations.
The legal name of the organization is Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, Inc.
The organization is registered as a nonprofit corporation according to sections 501.c.3, 509.a.1, and 170b.1.A.vi of the Internal Revenue Code.
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SWCRS is supported by thirty local colleges and universities, making it the most diverse and widely supported religious studies conference in the Southwest United States.