Dr. David Hoffman

Image of Dr. David Hoffman

Associate Professor


(662) 325-7524


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 is an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology with a specialty in Environmental Anthropology. Dr. Hoffman has served as the Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures’ MA in Applied Anthropology since 2014. In his time at Mississippi State, Dr. Hoffman has supervised to completion four Masters students as well as having served on numerous committees. In 2013, Dr. Hoffman was awarded the College of Arts & Sciences’ Faculty Teaching Award in Social & Behavioral Sciences.

In addition to his mentoring and teaching, Dr. Hoffman has an active research program that includes graduate student work. His 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. Since 2009 he has researched the movement of Costa Rican migrants to the edges of Costa Rican national parks. He is now finalizing a three-year NSF project that modeled these movements around three Costa Rican National Parks. Two MA students in the Applied Anthropology program were funded via this grant, which enabled them to conduct two months of field research in Costa Rica during the summer of 2013 in addition to multiple shorter visits for data collection and dissemination. In addition to this work, Dr. Hoffman is currently mentoring MA students with more local research. One is investigating the motivations of Mississippi’s sustainable farmers for choosing to grow sustainably. Dr. Hoffman is also a co-advisor on another’s work analyzing the traditional usage of river cane and canebreaks, as well as the use and the management of these plant resources by the Choctaw nation and the National Forest Service on the Tombigbee National Forest. Lastly, Dr. Hoffman is a co-PI on a recently awarded two-year NOAA Saltonstall-Kennedy grant investigating communications between fisheries agencies and the Vietnamese fishing communities in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Dr. Hoffman is currently accepting graduate students with interest in conservation and development issues, sustainability, alternative development / anti-capitalist movements, 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:

Hoffman, David M.

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

Hoffman, David M.

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

Hoffman, David M.; Fay, Derick; and Joppa, Lucas

2011                “Introduction: Human Migration to Protected Area Edges in Africa and Latin America: Questioning large-scale statistical analysis.” Conservation and Society 9(1): 1-7.

Hoffman, David M.

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.

External Sponsored Research and Grants:

2015-2017       Co-Principal Investigator, NOAA Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant. Communication Avenues for Vietnamese-American Fishing Communities on the Gulf of Mexico with Coastal Resource Agencies.” $258,032

2014                Co-Principal Investigator, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant, “Communication Avenues for Vietnamese Fishing Communities in Mississippi and Alabama with Coastal Resource Agencies.” $9,600

2012-2016      Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation, Directorate of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences, Cultural Anthropology Program, "Motivations and Movement: Modeling Migration to BUffer Zones of Three Costa Rican National Parks." $245,000

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