Elizabeth Stites

Elizabeth StitesResearch 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 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

Elizabeth Stites and Kimberly Howe describe lessons from Syria for the humanitarian response in Ukraine
April 7, 2022

Helping Ukrainians means listening to their needs – 3 lessons for aid groups from Syria’s war Millions of Syrians remain displaced from the conflict that began in 2011. Delil Souleiman/AFP…

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Feinstein and Darfur Universities share lessons from research partnership
April 1, 2022

The Feinstein International Center has been working with academic colleagues in Sudan since it began working in the country more than 20 years ago. However, developing partnerships at the institutional…

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Feinstein Research Projects

Research and Capacity-building Support to the Nawiri Project

Nawiri is evidence-based development project to address acute malnutrition in northern Kenya. Catholic Relief Services leads a consortium in Isiolo and Marsabit counties and Feinstein provides research and capacity-building support.

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Child Marriage in Humanitarian Settings

In 2015, more than 190 countries committed to end child marriage by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These projects seek to develop better evidence to inform policy, programs, and advocacy to address child marriage in humanitarian contexts.

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Feinstein Publications

Livelihood Components of Durable Solutions for IDPs
cover of durable solutions report

This assessment examines three ways in which national and international actors have sought to implement long-term, “durable,” solutions to internal displacement in Ethiopia’s Somali Region: resettlement, relocation, and local integration.

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Gender gap analysis on Isiolo and Marsabit counties, Kenya (Nawiri desk study)
Picture of Gender Gap Analysis Report Cover

The gender gap analysis analyzes available information and identifies evidence and knowledge gaps around livelihood systems from a gender perspective in Isiolo and Marsabit Counties in northern Kenya.

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