Dr. David Hoffman

Department / Division

  • Cultural Anthropologist
  • (he/him)


  • Associate Professor


Email: dhoffman@anthro.msstate.edu
Phone: (662) 325-2013


  • P.O. Box AR
  • Mississippi State MS 39762


  • BA, Environmental Studies / Anthropology, St. Lawrence University
  • MA, Cultural Anthropology, University of Colorado-Boulder
  • PhD, Cultural Anthropology, University of Colorado-Boulder

Research Interests

Conservation Policy and Practice, Parks and Human Migration, Co-management, Community-based Conservation, Conservation and Development, Central America, Costa Rica, Mexico, Political Ecology, Environmental Anthropology, Marine Protected Areas, Fishing Peoples and Cultures, Maritime Anthropology, Sustainable Development, Livelihoods, Sustainable Tourism.


David M. Hoffman joined the department in 2008 and is currently an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology with a specialty in Environmental Anthropology. Dr. Hoffman’s research in Environmental Anthropology generally focuses on sustainable development, resource management, biodiversity conservation, and the interaction of parks and protected areas with the development and livelihood needs of adjacent human communities. From 2001-2006 he researched the implementation of co-management of a marine protected area in Quintana Roo, Mexico, which was partially funded by a Fulbright grant. From 2009-2017 he researched the movement of Costa Rican migrants to the edges of Costa Rican national parks partially funded by a three-year NSF grant. From 2015-2019 Dr. Hoffman was the PI on a NOAA Saltonstall-Kennedy grant investigating communications between fisheries agencies and the Vietnamese fishing communities in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

In 2013, Dr. Hoffman was awarded the College of Arts & Sciences’ Faculty Teaching Award in Social & Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Hoffman was also named the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Eminent Scholar in Social and Behavioral Sciences for 2016-17. He was also given the “Outstanding Professor Award” by the College of Arts and Sciences in the fall of 2020.

Dr. Hoffman started his service to the Office of Prestigious External Scholarships as the Fulbright Program Administrator, Boren Scholarship/Fellowship Advisor, and the Critical Language Scholarship Advisor in 2015. As a former Fulbrighter (Mexico 2003-2004), Dr. Hoffman is a firm believer in the power of international research, study and language training via these scholarships! Under his guidance, MSU had at least one Fulbright finalist for six years running (2017-2022).

Dr. Hoffman took on the role of the Director of OPES in the Fall of 2020 as interim and then became the permanent director in the Fall of 2021. Over that time he has helped guide students to winning the Astronaut, CLS, Boren, Goldwater, Humanity in Action, PPIA-JSI, Udall scholarships. As well, he has helped MSU students become finalists for the Rhodes, Knight-Hennessy, and Truman scholarships.

Dr. Hoffman is currently accepting graduate students with interest in conservation and development issues, sustainability, alternative development models, community-based management, co-management, and resource governance. Regional interest is open, but students with a desire to conduct fieldwork in Central America or the U.S. South are preferred.

Recent Publications

2023    Jinka Ramamurthy, Malavika and David M. Hoffman. “‘Development’ Definitions of Internally Displaced People and the Government: A Study of the Chenchu Tribe in the Nallamala Forest of Southern India.” Frontiers in Conservation Science 4(25). 

2022    Hoffman, David M., Agustin Gomez-Melendez, Jessy Arends, Sallie Dehler, D. Shane Miller. “Using Cultural Consensus Analysis to Model and Understand Migration to Protected Area Buffer Zones in Costa Rica.” Ecology & Society 27(4): 1-42. 

2020    Schewe, Rebecca L., David M. Hoffman, Joseph Witt, Brian Shoup, Matthew Freeman “Cross-Cultural Environmental Research: Lessons from the Field.” Environmental Management. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-022-01660-5

2020    Hoffman, David M. “A Fractured Mirror: Migration to National Park Buffer Zones as a Reflection of the Ecolaboratory” in Lessons from the Ecolaboratory: Negotiating Environment and Development in Costa Rica. Fletcher, Robert, Dowd-Uribe, Brian and Aistara, Guntra A. Eds.: University of Arizona Press. 

2020   Schewe, Rebecca, David M. Hoffman, Joseph Witt, Brian Shoup and Matthew Freeman. “Citizen Science, Stakeholder Science: Citizen Science as a Strategy for Stakeholder Engagement in Natural Resource Management.” Environmental Management 65(1): 74-87. 

2017  “Parks, Proxies and People: Ideology, Epistemology and the Measurement of Human Population Growth on Protected Area Edges” Environment and Society: Advances in Research 8 (2017): 161-179.

2014   “Cooperatives, Conch and Conflict: Conservation and Resistance in the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Conservation and Society 12(2): 120-132.

2011   “Do Global Statistics Represent Local Reality and Should They Guide Conservation Policy?: Examples from Costa Rica  Conservation and Society 9(1): 16-24.

2009   “Institutional Legitimacy and Co-management of a Marine Protected Area: Implementation Lessons from the Case of Xcalak Reefs National Park, Mexico.” Human Organization 68(1): 39-54.

2011    Hoffman, David M.; Fay, Derick; and Joppa, Lucas “Introduction: Human Migration to Protected Area Edges in Africa and Latin America: Questioning large-scale statistical analysis.” Conservation and Society 9(1): 1-7.