Elizabeth Stites

Elizabeth StitesResearch Director and Assistant Professor
Assistant Research Professor, The Fletcher School at Tufts University
Research Assistant Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition

Working with Feinstein Since: 2002
Based in: Budapest, Hungary and South Dartmouth, Massachusetts

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.

Research Interests:
  • Intra-household livelihood adaptations and coping
  • Male youth and violence
  • Cyclical links between livelihoods and violence
Regional Focus:
  • Uganda
  • 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:
  • Howe, K., Stites, E.Partners under Pressure: Humanitarian Action for the Syria Crisis.” Disasters 43(1), January 2019: 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 24 (2020): 32-55
  • 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. “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

Feinstein Researchers analyze social connections during displacement in the Journal of Refugee Studies
January 12, 2021

Elizabeth Stites, Alex Humphrey, and Roxani Krystalli published an article in the Journal of Refugee Studies titled, “Social Connections and Displacement from South Sudan to Uganda: Towards a Relational Understanding…

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Borderlands Report published by World Bank in collaboration with Elizabeth Stites
April 14, 2020

In March 2020 the World Bank published a report on resilience and economic opportunity in the Borderlands of the Horn of Africa where pastoralism and trade are the dominant livelihoods….

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Feinstein Research Projects

Social Connectedness, Livelihoods, and Resilience in Complex Emergencies

In this partnership with Mercy Corps, the Feinstein International Center team investigates the nature of social networks and social connectedness, and explores how humanitarian assistance can strengthen these as a key aspect of resilience, recovery and relief interventions in complex humanitarian emergencies.

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Child Marriage in Humanitarian Settings

A multi-year, international, and comparative action-oriented research program to develop a better evidence base to inform policy, programs, and advocacy to address child marriage in humanitarian contexts.

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Feinstein Publications

Currency of Connections: The role of social connectedness among South Sudanese refugees in West Nile, Uganda
Currency of Connections Report Thumbnail
By Elizabeth Stites, Alex Humphrey | January 2020

This briefing paper examines how South Sudanese refugees in settlements in West Nile, Uganda establish and leverage their social connectedness throughout the process of displacement and settlement.

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Recovery in Northern Uganda: Findings from a panel study in Acholi and Lango sub-regions
recovery in northern Uganda

This report describes household recovery in northern Uganda from the 20 years of conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda (GoU) by following the same…

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