SUNTA President’s Report

Looking back at 2016

This report summarizes the most important activities or changes for SUNTA in the last year as chronicled in more detail in the attached reports of the various SUNTA officials and committees. Overall, SUNTA continues to do well!! Thanks to everybody for their great work!!


The AAA overall experienced a significant loss of members (-644). It is hence no surprise that SUNTA membership also dropped. Between 2015 and 2016 SUNTA lost 92 members (about a 17 percent drop). In September 2016 our membership was 545 as compared to 637 in September 2015. The only small increase has been in the joint membership category.  SUNTA is currently the 12th largest of the 40 AAA sections. The concrete membership numbers of September 2015 and September 2016 were:

September 2015          September 2016

Professional                                        405                              359

Student                                                189                              152

Joint                                                        7                                  9

Associate                                                 4                                  4

International                                          30                                21

Life                                                          2                                  0

TOTAL                                              637                              545                                                     


Thanks to Deborah Altamirano for all her work and the very detailed report!! SUNTA continues its strong financial record. As of September 30, 2016 the SUNTA account balance was $ 159.665.25 (compared to $ 148,273.66 a year ago and $ 129,975.85 two years ago). The dues remained at $29 for professional and $10 for student members. The dues were last increased at the 2014 meeting. Membership revenue for 2016 is projected to be $14,219.00.

As of September 2016 AAA financial report, City & Society will receive $7,558.16 in royalties. We had budgeted $ 7,750. The City & Society editor receives a $6,000 stipend per year in compensation for managing the journal and publishing three issues annually. We also budget $1,750 for journal operating costs (for office expenses and facilities, equipment, and maintenance).

Prizes. SUNTA added the Senior Scholar/Lifetime Award for $250 (this year $500 as we awarded two prizes). We have the following continuing awards: Leeds Book Award ($500), Graduate Student Paper Prize ($250), Undergraduate Student Paper Prize ($150).

Thanks to Jeremy Rayer for chairing the Undergraduate Student Paper Prize committee, and to Friederike Fleischer for chairing the  Graduate Student Prize committee! A special thanks is also due to Bob Rotenberg for his work on the Leeds Book Prize for his many years of work with the Leeds Prize!

Meetings. Our overall meetings budget for 2015 was $5850 (including the prizes), the Board dinner (up to $500) and Interlocutor Series speaker ($600). We also contributed $1100 to the joint reception. We also maintain approximately $1000 in a Miscellaneous fund to cover unexpected or uncovered expenses. We spent approximately $3600. Our 2016 meetings budget will cover the costs noted above, and the additional costs for our Business Meeting reception, Senior Scholar awards and ELAP/NASA Mentoring Initiative. For 2016, SUNTA has allocated $1200 to co-sponsor the joint reception with six other with sections (ABA, AFA, ALLA, AQA, SANA, and SAW).

Social Media and Websites. In 2016 SUNTA spent $ 3150 on maintaining the website and listserv.

Endowments. SUNTA’s two quasi-endowments for the Leeds Prize ($ 15,000 endowment; QE504) and the SUNTA student prizes ($ 35,000 endowment; QE503) which were invested for a five year period (starting last year) are doing well. QE 503 is currently at $ 37,910.02; QE504 is at $16,247.14). In three years SUNTA will need to re-visit these endowments.

THANKS again to Deborah for her work!!

SUNTA’s Program at the Annual Meeting

Thanks to Jayne Howell for her work on the program! Jayne reported that SUNTA will again be “very visible at the meetings.” However submissions are down compared to last year. In 2015 in Denver SUNTA had 44 sessions, this year we will only have 31 sessions, among them two invited and two co-invited sessions (SUNTA was given six invited credits).

SUNTA received 28 volunteered panels. The committee rejected two sessions. SUNTA received 36 (up from 32 in 2015) individually volunteered individual paper abstracts and created three session from among these papers.

Overall, the scheduling of SUNTA panels was good and the AAA tried to accommodate the program committee’s time requests. However, a SUNTA co-sponsored Executive Session (co-organized by Jayne Howell and David Haines, ASAP) was scheduled for Sunday at 8am. Two third of our sessions (21) are scheduled on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Of those, however, only three are scheduled on Saturday. One third are on Wednesday (5) or Sunday (5).

City & Society

Thanks to Joshua Barker and Sheri Gibbings for their work with City & Society! In January Joshua Barker took over as Editor and Sheri Gibbings became Associate Editor. Derek Pardue joined City & Society as a new Assistant Editor this year.

City & Society published three issues since the last meeting, one in January 2016, issue 27(3); two in spring and summer 2016; issue 28(1) and 28(2). The third 2016 issue, 28(3), is in progress. The journal’s acceptance rate stands at a very good 13 percent. The journal continued to publish a good mix between individual papers and guest edited issues. The journal has four guest-edited issues lined up for 2017 and 2018 and has a good number of individual papers in the pipeline.

SUNTA Listserv and Website

Thanks to Jessika Tremblay for her work! The SUNTA urbanth-l listserv subscription currently stands at 1946 non-digested and 486 digested members (total: 2432). A new Facebook page (Society for Urban, National, and Transnational Anthropology) was created in February 2016 as an extra outlet for promoting and advertising SUNTA events, publications, and other news. A Twitter handle (@suntaorg) was also created in February 2016 for the same purpose (currently 39 followers).


I want to thank all current and especially the outgoing SUNTA board members for their work and dedication this year. It has been a productive year and SUNTA continues to do well in its different ventures and activities. SUNTA furthermore remains in very good financial shape.

I also want to take this occasion to express my gratitude and appreciation for the work, dedication, and love given by the late Nancy Abelmann to SUNTA and the profession at large! You are thoroughly missed, Nancy!

Petra Kuppinger is the SUNTA past president (2016-2018) and teaches in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Monmouth College.

Andrew Newman is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Wayne State University and Secretary of SUNTA.


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Want to comment? Please be aware that only comments from current AAA members will be approve. AN is supported by member dues, so discussions on are moderated to ensure that current members are commenting. As with all AN content, comments reflect the views of the person who submitted the comment only. The approval of a comment to go live does not signify endorsement by AN or the AAA.