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.

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.