Amy Stambach

Position title: Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor and Director of Graduate Studies


5458 Sewell Social Science Building


Ph.D., University of Chicago


Amy Stambach CV

Areas of Focus

Cultural Anthropology, East Africa


The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
The Center for Culture, History, and the Environment
The African Studies Program


My current research examines the production and mobilization of environmental knowledge. My early work focused on gendered and generational aspects of secondary schooling in East Africa. This led to my interest in U.S. evangelical religious groups’ involvement in providing education to East African students and, more recently, to the study of China-Africa educational programs as seen from the perspectives of African professionals.

Continuing to build on field research I have conducted across two-decades on Mount Kilimanjaro, and on my interests in international development, I am currently studying the social, political, and economic contexts shaping diverse understandings of the environment and climate change. I use the UN Sustainability Development Goals, governmental and vernacular archives, and ethnographic research in East Africa as points of entry into this project. The ultimate goal of my work is to leverage anthropological knowledge to gain insight into problems facing international institutions and local communities.


  • Anthro 477: Anthropology, Environment, and Development
  • Anthro/EPS 970: Anthropology and Education
  • Anthro 860: History of Anthropological Theory

Selected Publications

  • 2022  “The World Bank’s Construction of Teachers and Their Work: A Critical Analysis.” By Joseph Pesambili, Yusuf Sayed, and Amy Stambach. International Journal of Educational Development. Volume 92:
  • 2022 “Chinese-Tanzanian Friendship and Friendship Treaties.” Peace Review 34(3): 292-302 [reprinted 2023 in Friendship, Peace and Social Justice, edited by Heather Devere (New York: Routledge, Chapter 4)].
  • Stambach, Amy E. and Aikande C. Kwayu 2021. Witness to a Passing. HAU: The Journal of Ethnographic Theory 11(2): 412-417.
  • Stambach, Amy and Kathleen D. Hall, eds. 2016. Anthropological Perspectives on Student Futures. New York: Palgrave.
  • Stambach, Amy. 2016. Food, Aid, and Education in East Africa: Repackaging the Conversation. Cambridge Journal of Education 46(2): 247-262.
  • Stambach, Amy. 2015. Development Organizations’ Support for Faith-based Education: The Turn Toward Ethics and Dialogue. The Routledge Handbook of Religions and Development. Emma Tomalin, ed. New York: Routledge.
  • Oppenheim, William and Amy Stambach. 2014. Global Norm-making as Lens and Mirror: Comparative Education and Gender Mainstreaming in Northern Pakistan. Comparative Education Review 58(3): 377-400.
  • Stambach, Amy and Aikande C. Kwayu. 2013. ‘Take the Gift of My Child and Return Something to Me’: On Children, Chagga Trust, and an American Evangelical Orphanage on Mount Kilimanjaro. Journal of Religion in Africa 43(4): 296-425.
  • Stambach, Amy. 2010. Education, Religion, and Anthropology in Africa. Annual Review of Anthropology Vol. 39: 361-79.