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:
  • Stites, Elizabeth and Anastasia Marshak. “Who are the Lonetia? Findings from southern Karamoja, Uganda.” Journal of Modern African Studies 54 (2016). 237-262.
  • Stites, Elizabeth and Darlington Akabwai. “‘We are now reduced to women’: Impacts of forced disarmament in Karamoja, Uganda.” Nomadic Peoples 14, 2 (2010). 24-43.
  • Stites, Elizabeth. “A Struggle for Rites: Masculinity, Violence and Livelihoods in Karamoja, Uganda.” In Gender, Violence, and Human Security: Critical Feminist Perspectives, edited by Aili Tripp, Myra Marx Ferree, and Christina Ewig. New York University Press, 2013.

News Items

Elizabeth Stites, Kimberly Howe, and Kim Wilson discuss systems change and livelihoods at SEEP 2017
October 4, 2017

Feinstein faculty, researchers, and visiting fellows had a prominent role at the SEEP 2017 conference in Washington DC on October 4, 2017. Elizabeth Stites presented findings from the Secure Livelihoods…

Read More
Elizabeth Stites work on pastoralism in Uganda highlighted in Tufts Nutrition Magazine
October 2, 2017

The Tufts Nutrition Magazine’s a la carte section described Elizabeth Stites’ work in Uganda that shows the wisdom of traditional herding in Uganda. The story by Julie Flaherty is here….

Read More

Feinstein Research Projects

Growth, Health, and Governance, Karamoja, Uganda

This USAID-funded five year project (2012-2017) aims to improve livelihoods outcomes for the pastoral, agro-pastoral, and agrarian populations in the region.

Read More
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.

Read More

Feinstein Publications

Five years on: Livelihood advances, innovations, and continuing challenges in Karamoja, Uganda

This fifth year report examines key areas of change in Karamoja over the past five years to inform development programming decisions.

Read More
Livelihood strategies and interventions in fragile and conflict-affected areas: assessing trends and changes from 2012 to 2016
Livelihoods, Vulnerability, Resilience, Food aid, Food security, Humanitarian Action, and Post-conflict action Research

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

Read More