Focus On Societies

Here the executive directors of ACLS member societies provide a brief description of the history and activities of their organizations. 

  • American Academy of Religion (AAR)

    Founded: 1909 | Admitted to ACLS: 1979

    AAR is the world's largest scholarly and professional association of academics, teachers, and research scholars dedicated to furthering knowledge of religions and religious institutions in all their forms and manifestations. Read more

  • American Antiquarian Society (AAS)

    Founded: 1812 | Admitted to ACLS: 1919

    AAS was a founding member society of ACLS in 1919, and since then has worked to encourage humanities scholarship as well as to bring humanities research to a broader audience. Many of the most significant works of Americanist scholarship of the past century have been researched in the society’s reading room in Worcester. Read more

  • American Folklore Society (AFS)

    Founded: 1888 | Admitted to ACLS: 1945

    AFS serves the field of folklore studies, comprised of people and institutions that study and communicate knowledge about folklore throughout the world. Read more

  • American Society for Legal History (ASLH)

    Founded: 1956 | Admitted to ACLS: 1973

    ASLH was founded in 1956 to foster interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching in the broad field of legal history. Although based in the United States, its purview and membership are international in scope. Read more

  • Association of American Law Schools (AALS)

    Founded: 1900 | Admitted to ACLS: 1958

    AALS is a nonprofit association of 178 US-based law schools. Its members enroll most of the nation’s law students and produce the majority of the country’s lawyers and judges, as well as many of its lawmakers. The mission of AALS is to uphold and advance excellence in legal education. Read more

  • Dictionary Society of North America (DSNA)

    Founded: 1975 | Admitted to ACLS: 1994

    The membership of the DSNA—a mix of academics, practicing lexicographers, and others who work with words and word usage—come from over 40 countries, with the majority working in the United States and Canada. They are scholars of dictionaries, librarians, booksellers, translators, linguists, publishers, writers, book collectors, journalists, lawyers, and people with avocational interests in dictionaries, glossaries, and thesauri. Read more

  • Law and Society Association (LSA)

    Founded: 1964 | Admitted to ACLS: 1997

    The Law and Society Association is an interdisciplinary scholarly organization committed to social scientific, interpretive, and historical analyses of law across multiple social contexts. Although they share a common commitment to developing theoretical and empirical understandings of law, interests of the members range widely. Read more

  • Linguistic Society of America (LSA)

    Founded: 1924 | Admitted to ACLS: 1927

    The Linguistic Society of America is a scholarly professional association whose mission is to advance the scientific study of language. Founded in 1924, LSA offers a variety of programs and services to meet the needs of the linguistics community and the broader interests of society in the role that language plays in human interactions. Read more

  • Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA)

    Founded: 1966 | Admitted to ACLS: 1988

    MESA brings together scholars, educators, and those interested in the study of the region from all over the world. MESA is primarily concerned with the area encompassing Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Israel, Pakistan, and the countries of the Arab world and North Africa from the seventh century to modern times. Read more

  • National Communication Association (NCA)

    Founded: 1914 | Admitted to ACLS: 1997

    The mission of the NCA  is to advance the academic discipline of communication as it studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry. Read more

  • Oral History Association (OHA)

    Founded: 1966 | Admitted to ACLS: 2014

    Since 1966, OHA has served as the principal membership organization for scholars and other practitioners interested in collecting, preserving, presenting, and interpreting oral history. Its regular activities include holding an annual meeting, where presentations include critiques and descriptions of research, evaluations of methodology, and discussions of curriculum, professional ethics and emergent technologies, as well as an extensive workshop program. Read more

  • Society for Military History (SMH)

    Founded: 1933 | Admitted to ACLS: 2010

    SMH is devoted to stimulating and advancing the study of military history. The society's latest white paper is "The Role of Military History in the Contemporary Academy" by Tami Davis Biddle and Robert Citino, which chronicles the maturation of the field of military history and assesses its current place in American higher education. Read more

  • Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & PublishinG (SHARP)

    Founded: 1992 | Admitted to ACLS: 2016

    SHARP is the premier scholarly organization for those investigating the history of the written word from its earliest incarnations to its latest digital forms. Read more

  • Society of Biblical Literature (SBL)

    Founded: 1880 | Admitted to ACLS: 1929

    Since 1880, SBL has carried out its mission to "foster biblical scholarship," making it the oldest and largest learned society devoted to the critical investigation of the Bible and related texts from a variety of academic disciplines. This mission is continually driven through its core values, including respect for diversity, critical inquiry, scholarly integrity, inclusivity, and tolerance. Read more

  • World History Associatioe (WHA)

    Founded: 1982 | Admitted to ACLS: 2011

    WHA is a professional association of scholars, teachers, and students organized to promote world history by encouraging teaching, research, publications, and personal interactions. It was founded in 1982 by a group of university faculty and secondary-school teachers determined to address the needs of a newly emerging historical sub-discipline. Read more