Elizabeth Stites

Elizabeth StitesResearch Director and Assistant Professor
Assistant Research Professor, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy
Research Assistant Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition

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

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:
  • 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

Jeeyon Janet Kim publishes in Food Security
June 3, 2019

Jeeyon Janet Kim, Elizabeth Stites, Patrick Webb, Mark A. Constas, and Daniel Maxwell published “The effects of male out-migration on household food security in rural Nepal“ in Food Security  in…

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Feinstein team held a workshop on bridging the gap between research and practice with FAO in Rome
November 29, 2018

A Feinstein team including Helen Young, Andy Catley, Elizabeth Stites, and Anastasia Marshak held a one day workshop with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in…

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Feinstein Research Projects

Getting in or missing out? Understanding the poor’s interactions with market systems and international programming

Feinstein’s work as part of the Apolou project seeks to understand the impacts over time of a shift to an increasingly cash-based economy on different wealth, livelihood, and demographic groups.

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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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Feinstein Publications

‘She told me that life here is so easy’: Urban migration of Acholi youth, Uganda

This working paper presents findings on the migration of youth from Acholi, Uganda to the urban areas of Gulu and Pabbo in northern Uganda, and to the Acholi Quarter neighborhood in Kampala.

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Alcohol in Karamoja Uganda: Observations and Remaining Questions
Alcohol in Karamoja
By Elizabeth Stites | April 2018

This briefing paper examines alcohol brewing and consumption in Karamoja, Uganda from the health and economic perspectives.

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