Elizabeth Stites

Elizabeth StitesResearch Director in Conflict and Livelihoods, Feinstein International Center
Assistant Research Professor, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Working with Feinstein Since: 2002
Based in: Brooklyn, NY and Westport, MA

Elizabeth Stites’ work focuses on the effects of conflict and violence on civilian livelihoods. She is particularly interested in how different members within a household make changes to their livelihoods in times of conflict or crisis, and also how violence and livelihood strategies can reinforce each other. On the policy level she examines the effects of humanitarian, development, and military policies on livelihoods, security, and gender roles. Her field work aims to improve the effectiveness of international and national policies through evidence-based research reflecting the lived experiences of local communities. She aims to understand the challenges and hopes that inform people’s daily decision making, and strives to ensure that local people’s voices and experiences are heard in contexts in which they are often invisible. She has worked in multiple countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Nepal and on the Syria crisis.

Prior to joining Feinstein, Elizabeth worked as a consultant to UN organizations, academic centers, and international non-profits. She lived in South Africa for four years in the 1990s, where she researched post-apartheid land restitution and worked closely with families, community groups, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

Elizabeth holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University, an M.A. from the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and an M.A.L.D. and a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Research Interests:
  • Intra-household livelihood adaptations and coping
  • Male youth and violence
  • Cyclical links between livelihoods and violence
Regional Focus:
  • Northeastern Uganda (Karamoja)
  • Eastern Africa
  • Nepal
Courses Taught:
  • Gender, Culture, and Conflict in Complex Emergencies (NUTR 222/DHP D232), Fall Term
  • Gender and Human Security in Transitional States and Societies (DHP D231), Spring Term
Most Cited Books and Articles:
  • Elizabeth Stites and Anastasia Marshak. 2016. “Who are the Lonetia? Findings from southern Karamoja, Uganda.” Journal of Modern African Studies 54(May): 237-262.
  • Elizabeth Stites and Darlington Akabwai. 2010. “‘We are now reduced to women’: Impacts of forced disarmament in Karamoja, Uganda.” Nomadic Peoples 14(2): 24-43.
  • Elizabeth Stites. 2013. “A Struggle for Rites: Masculinity, Violence and Livelihoods in Karamoja, Uganda.” in Gender, Violence, and Human Security: Critical Feminist Perspectives, ed. Aili Tripp, Myra Marx Ferree, and Christina Ewig. New York University Press.

News Items

Elizabeth Stites shares best practices for including gender in university curricula
August 10, 2017

On August 9, 2017, Elizabeth Stites participated in the curriculum consortium on teaching women, peace, and security (WPS) in higher education.The consortium is responding to an urgent need for students…

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Feinstein faculty humanitarian course offerings Spring 2017 at Tufts
January 17, 2017

Feinstein faculty are teaching a variety of courses on humanitarian issues during the upcoming Spring 2017 Semester. We encourage students to check them out: Karen Jacobsen: Forced Migration (DHP D239)…

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Feinstein Research Projects

The Humanitarian Evidence Program

The Humanitarian Evidence Program produces a series of evidence syntheses to distill humanitarian evidence and communicate it to key stakeholders in order to enable better decision-making and improve humanitarian policy and practice.

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Partnerships in Remote Management Settings
By Kimberly Howe, Elizabeth Stites | August 2015

International organizations increasingly rely on local partners to engage in humanitarian action. This is particularly the case in highly insecure situations or when host governments limit or deny international access. Despite these trends, there have been few attempts to examine the effectiveness of international-local partnerships either in general or in insecure “remote management” contexts. This study explores these partnerships in the setting of cross-border assistance from Turkey to Syria in 2014. The case of Iraqi Kurdistan provides historical perspective.

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Feinstein Publications

Livelihood strategies and interventions in fragile and conflict-affected areas: assessing trends and changes from 2012 to 2016

This publication explores the evolution of the “livelihoods approach” to development and humanitarian assistance.

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A Better Balance: Revitalized Pastoral Livelihoods in Karamoja, Uganda

This report reviews the state of animal-based livelihoods in the Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda and examines how animal ownership affects a household’s ability to weather shocks.

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