The American Oriental Society, founded in 1842, is the oldest learned society in the United States devoted to a particular field of scholarship; it is preceded only by such distinguished organizations of general scope as the American Philosophical Society (1743), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1780), and the American Antiquarian Society (1812).
From the beginning the Society’s aims have been humanistic. The encouragement of basic research in the languages and literatures of the Near East and Asia has always been central in its tradition, which has come to include such subjects as philology, literary criticism, textual criticism, paleography, epigraphy, linguistics, biography, archaeology, and the history of the intellectual and imaginative aspects of Eastern civilizations, especially of philosophy, religion, folklore and art.
In the fields of study to which the AOS is dedicated, there is abundant evidence of pain and oppression inflicted on others because of skin color; it is beyond time to eradicate imagined divisions of humankind and to embrace equality and fraternity of peoples, regardless of skin color, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, or any other basis for abuse. The AOS stands in solidarity with and joins those engaged in the fight against systemic racism and the struggle for justice, equality, and human rights. In particular, the AOS pledges to combat prejudice and hatred against Black Americans and violence against Black lives throughout history. Racism has no place in the AOS.
The Society’s scope is not limited by temporal boundaries; all with an academic interest in Near Eastern and Asian Studies are welcome to become members.