Stephen C. Lubkemann

Headshot of Stephen C. Lubkemann

Stephen C. Lubkemann

Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs

Full-time Faculty


Office Phone: 202-994-4191
Fax: 202-994-6097

Dr. Lubkemann is a sociocultural anthropologist whose work 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; and on cultural heritage and maritime archaeology.

Dr. Lubkemann has done extensive fieldwork in Mozambique, in South Africa, and with African refugees and diasporas in Europe and the U.S. His ongoing research includes a project initiated in 2004, with research grants from the United States Institute for Peace and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, that examines the political and socio-economic influence of displacement diasporas in their war-torn countries of origin through a specific study of the Liberian case. Since 2006, he has also been engaged in a major project in Angola, supported by the MacArthur Foundation, which examines the effects of "trans-generational displacement" on gendered relations, urbanization, and informal governance systems. In 2007, he initiated a new policy research project with USIP funding that examines customary legal practices in post-conflict Liberia. His work also critically examines the structure and effects of international humanitarian action and explores the potential of diasporas as a "third humanitarian space."

Sociocultural Anthropology; 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

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.

Ph.D., Brown University


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.

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.