Stephen C. Lubkemann

Stephen Lubkemann

Stephen C. Lubkemann

Director of Graduate Studies, Anthropology M.A. Program (2nd Years) & Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs


Office Phone: (202) 994-4191

As a sociocultural anthropologist, Dr. Lubkemann focuses primarily on social and political change in nations that have experienced protracted conflict and violence; on migrants, refugees, and diasporas; on international development and humanitarian action. As an archaeologist, he focuses on cultural heritage and maritime archaeology. He is an associate editor of Anthropological Quarterly, co-founder of the Diaspora Research and Policy Program, and founder of the African Slave Wrecks Project.

Political conflict; violence; gender, migration; transnationalism and diasporas; refugees and displacement; humanitarian action; development; ethnohistory; maritime archaeology and CRM; epistemology and methodology in the social sciences. Regional foci: Lusophone Africa, Liberia, African diasporas.

Dr. Lubkemann has conducted fieldwork with migrants and refugees in Mozambique, South Africa, Angola, and Liberia, and among diasporas in Portugal and the U.S. He has also worked on a variety of archaeological and cultural heritage projects in the U.S., Bermuda, and southern Africa.

Ongoing Projects

  • Examining the influence of the Liberian diaspora on their war-torn homeland, a project launched in 2003 with grants from the United States Institute of Peace and the H. F. Guggenheim Foundation.
  • Researching internal displacement, urbanization, and informal governance in Angola funded by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation.
  • Exploring the role of customary legal systems in post-conflict Liberia, a project supported by the United Institute of Peace.
  • The Southern African Slave Wrecks and Heritage Route Project, an internationally collaborative maritime archaeology and cultural heritage project supported by the Ford Foundation.
  • Observing enumeration of non-English-speaking households in the 2010 Census. The first-ever analysis of U.S. census data based on ethnographic observation of the census interview process among both English-speakers and seven ethno-linguistic minorities.

Anth 0700 (old 700): Anthropology of Violence and Political Conflict
Anth 2008 (198): Foundations of Anthropological Thought
Anth 3501 (151): Anthropology of Development
Anth 3531 (117): Methods in Sociocultural Anthropology
Anth 3708 (178): Cultures of Africa
Anth 3833 (115): Field Research: Maritime Historical Archaeology
Anth 6302 (222): Post-Conflict Transitions and Societies
Anth 6591 (251): Topics: Displacement and Diaspora
Anth 6591 (251): Topics: Africa and Africans in the World


2010  Isser, D., S. Lubkemann, and S. N'Tow. Looking for Justice: Liberian Experiences with and Perceptions of Local Justice Options. Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace Press.

2010  Grinker, R., S. Lubkemann, and C.B. Steiner, eds. Perspectives on Africa: A Reader in Culture, History and Representation. 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

2008  Lubkemann, S.C. Culture in Chaos: An Anthropology of the Social Condition in War. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

2011  Lubkemann, S., D. Isser, and P. Chapman. “Neither state nor custom — just naked power: The consequences of ideals-oriented rule of law policy making in Liberia," Journal of Legal Pluralism 63: 73-110.

2008  Lubkemann, S.C. "Involuntary immobility: On a theoretical invisibility of forced migration studies," Journal of Refugee Studies 21(4): 454-475.

2008  Lubkemann, S.C. "Liberian remittance relief and not-only-for-profit entrepreneurship — exploring the economic relevance of diasporas in post-conflict transitions." In J. Brinkerhoff, ed. Diasporas and International Development: Exploring the Potential. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Press.

2007  Lubkemann, S.C., guest ed. "Kinship and globalization." Special issue of Anthropological Quarterly Vol. 80, No. 2.

2005  Lubkemann, S.C. "Migratory coping in wartime Mozambique: An anthropology of violence and displacement in ‘fragmented wars," Journal of Peace Research 42(4): 493-508.

2005  Lubkemann, S.C. "The moral economy of non-return among socially-diverted migrants from Portugal and Mozambique." In L. Trager, ed. Migration and Economy: Global and Local Dynamics. Society for Economic Anthropology Monographs No. 22. NY: Altamira Press.

2005  Lubkemann, S.C., and D. Hoffman. "Warscape ethnography in West Africa and the anthropology of 'events'," Anthropological Quarterly 78(2): 315-328.

Ph.D. 2000, Brown University
M.A. 1994, Brown University
B.A. 1990, Duke University