Joseph Lanning, PhD

Dr. Joseph Lanning is an educator, practitioner, and researcher active in sustainable development and food systems with a regional focus on southern Africa. His research focuses on the mixed livelihoods of rural Malawians as they navigate climatic, environmental, and economic risk and uncertainty in their efforts to achieve food security. He has conducted extended ethnographic research with farmers in Malawi examining agricultural decision-making. His recent collaborative research examined food insecurity and mental health among post-partum women in Malawi. Dr. Lanning oversees both the Global Master’s program in Development Practice and the undergraduate International Honors Program in Food Systems. He has been involved in teaching agroecology in Malawi with the Zisinthe Farm and Community Garden, where he serves as a planning partner.

See Dr. Lanning’s full list of publications

Courses Taught

Foundations of Sustainable Development
Professional Development Seminar
Practitioner Inquiry

Select Publications

Mark, T. E., Latulipe, R. J., Anto-Ocrah, M., Mlongoti, G., Adler, D., & Lanning, J. W. (2021). Seasonality, Food Insecurity, and Clinical Depression in Post-Partum Women in a Rural Malawi Setting. Maternal and Child Health Journal25(5), 751–758.

Lanning, J., S.L. Colby-Bottel, S. Sakash, and Z. Hagos. (2018). Humanizing high-impact practices: Leveraging your learning communities. Global Impact Exchange: A quarterly publication of Diversity Abroad.

Select Presentations

Lanning, J. (2016) Loss aversion, mental accounting, and the confusion of net and gross return among smallholder farmers. [Conference presentation]. Society for Economic Anthropology meeting. Athens, GA, United States

Lanning, J. (2015) Farming as gambling: The role of previous wins and losses in reducing agricultural uncertainty in Malawi. [Conference presentation]. American Anthropology Association meeting. Denver, CO,, United States

Lanning, J. (2014). Some Are on the Top, Some Are on the Bottom: Perceptions of Own-vs.-Community Food Insecurity in Rural Malawi. [Conference presentation]. American Anthropology Association meeting, Washington DC, United States

Research Interests

Economic and agricultural anthropology
Quantitative and qualitative ethnography, behavioral observation, experimental methods
Livelihoods, social networks, poverty, inequality
Land cover chance, climate change, and zoonoses


  • PhD, Anthropology, University of Georgia
  • MA, Global History, University of Rochester
  • BA, Anthropology, University of Rochester
Joseph Lanning, PhD

SIT Study Abroad

Program Director and Assistant Professor

IHP Food Systems: Agriculture, Sustainability, and Justice

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SIT Graduate Institute


PhD in Sustainability

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Chair and Assistant Professor

MA in Sustainable Development Practice

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Assistant Professor

MA in Diplomacy and International Relations

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Affiliated Faculty

MA in Sustainable Development Practice

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