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Senior Lecturer, Children & Youth Studies, International Institute of Social Studies
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Kristen E. Cheney is Senior Lecturer of Children and Youth Studies for the International Institute of Social Studies, a graduate development studies institute in The Hague, Netherlands.

From 2007-13, Dr. Cheney served as co-founder and advisory board chair for the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology of Children & Youth Interest Group. She is currently on the editorial board of the journal Childhood, a member of the CABA Working Group Netherlands, and ISS representative to the European Network of Masters in Children’s Rights (ENMCR) and Share-Net NL (Netherlands Network on Sexual and Reproductive Health and AIDS).

Dr. Cheney’s research has focused on children’s survival strategies amidst difficult circumstances, mainly in Eastern and Southern Africa. Her first book, Pillars of the Nation: Child Citizens and Ugandan National Development (2007, The University of Chicago Press), looks broadly at the social intersections of childhood and nationhood in international development, while her Fulbright-funded ethnographic research with orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) examines issues of social exclusion, policy, and protection for children affected by HIV/AIDS. The resulting manuscript, Crying for Our Elders: African Orphanhood in the Age of HIV/AIDS, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press.

Her most recent research concerns the political economy of intercountry adoption, childcare institutions, and international surrogacy arrangements, and their relation child protection and wellbeing. She organized the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy in August 2014.

She is also studying the implications of pornography and other sexually explicit media consumption and production among eastern African youth for sexual identity formation and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Dr. Cheney has participated in several research, consultancy, and capacity-building projects in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East on issues from children’s rights to youth sexual and reproductive health. Her work takes an explicitly child-centered approach that considers how children experience and respond to the various hegemonic institutional and structural elements of global and local development practices.

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