About the EIR

EIR Mission Statement:

The Eastern International Region of the American Academy of Religion serves as a gateway into the academic study of religion for Regional participants who reside in Western Pennsylvania, the State of New York (excluding New York City), and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Our main goal is to support AAR initiatives at the local level in our region. In support of the American Academy of Religion, the EIR fosters partnerships, collaborations, communications, and teaching in the field of religion through multiple lenses of critical engagement and in the spirit of free inquiry. The EIR is committed to upholding the highest level of inclusion, equality, respect, professionalism, and academic excellence in the academic field of religion. The Eastern International Region (EIR) of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) meets annually in spring. The meetings are hosted by one of the region's participating institutions in Ontario, Quebec, New York, or western Pennsylvania.

About the EIR Executive Board

Regionally Elected Coordinator (REC)

Chris Miller headshot











Chris Miller is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Nonreligion in a Complex Future project, at the University of Ottawa. He earned his PhD at the University of Waterloo in Religious Studies, and has a MA from Saint Mary's University. His current research interests include death and dying, popular culture, New Religious Movements, and how communities interact with their scholarly study. He also currently teaches at the University of Waterloo and McMaster University. 












Dr. Damon T. Berry is an associate professor of religious studies at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. His research focuses on the intersections of race, religion, politics, and violence in the United States. He has written monographs on religious movements associated with American white nationalism, the relationships between Christianity and the Alt-Right, and more recently on charismatic Christian movements and their support for Trump. He is currently writing an article on the role of religion in American militia movements.

Vice President

Dr. William Gruen (Muhlenberg College). Bio forthcoming.


Digital Officer 










Aaron Ricker earned his PhD in Religious Studies at McGill University. Aaron is co-editor of the Journal of the Council for Research on Religion. His publications include Ancient Letters (2020) and Intersections of Astronomy and Religion (2020).

Student Director

Headshot of Student Director









Marzia Alteno is a Doctoral Student in Religious Studies at the University of Montreal. She has a BA in Japanese Studies from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, and a MA in Religious Studies from the University of Padua. Her current research interests include Japanese religious and social context, New Religious Movements,  and gender issues related to the families of charismatic leaders