Elizabeth Stites

Research Director and Associate Professor

Associate Research Professor, The Fletcher School at Tufts University

Research Associate Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition


Working with Feinstein since 2002

Based in Budapest, Hungary and South Dartmouth, Massachusetts

Elizabeth Stites

Elizabeth Stites directs Feinstein’s Research Program on Conflict and Livelihoods, focused 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.


  • Intra-household livelihood adaptations in times of stress
  • Early marriage in settings of conflict and displacement
  • Gender and livelihoods among pastoral and agropastoral populations


  • Eastern and southern Africa


  • 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


  • Howe, K., Stites, E.Partners under Pressure: Humanitarian Action for the Syria Crisis.” Disasters (January 2019) 43(1): 3-23.  
  • Stites, E., Howe, K., “From the Border to the Bedroom: Changing Conflict Dynamics in Karamoja, Uganda Journal of Modern African Studies (March 2019) 57(1): 137-159.
  • Stites, E. “‘The only place to do this is in town:’ Experiences of rural-urban migration in northern Karamoja, Uganda.” Nomadic Peoples (2020) 24: 32-55.
  • Stites, Elizabeth and Anastasia Marshak. “Who are the Lonetia? Findings from southern Karamoja, Uganda.” Journal of Modern African Studies (2016) 54: 237-262.
  • 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.


  • Howe, Kimberly, Elizabeth Stites, Lucy Bassett, and Maya Ewart. 2024. “Health and Well-being of Young Mothers Displaced by Conflict: Experiences From South Sudan and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.” Social Science & Medicine 348 (May): 116710. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2024.116710.
  • Seaman, M., Stites, E., “Family Matters: Older Refugee Minors in Vienna and Factors for Resiliency.” Journal of Refugee Studies (June 2022) 35 (2): 988-1010.
  • Iyer, P., Stites, E. “Trauma, loss and other psychosocial drivers of excessive alcohol consumption in Karamoja, Uganda.” Pastoralism (2021) 11 (30).
  • Stites, E., Humphrey, A., Krystalli, R. “Social Connections and Displacement from South Sudan to Uganda: Towards a relational understanding of survival during conflict.” Journal of Refugee Studies (September 2021) 34 (3): 2720–2739.