Dr. Cheney’s research deals with children’s survival strategies amidst difficult circumstances and the politics of humanitarian intervention for such children, mainly in Eastern and Southern Africa. Her first book, Pillars of the Nation: Child Citizens and Ugandan National Development (2007), looks broadly at the social intersections of childhood and nationhood in international development, while her new book, Crying for Our Elders: African Orphanhood in the Age of HIV/AIDS (2017, University of Chicago Press) draws on youth participatory ethnographic research with orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) to examine issues of social exclusion, policy, and protection for children affected by HIV/AIDS.
Her most recent research examines the impact of the global 'orphan industrial complex' -- including orphan tourism, childcare institutions, and intercountry adoption practices-- on child protection in developing countries. She has also led several studies using youth participatory research to explore issues of youth sexual and reproductive health.
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 has participated in research, consultancy, and capacity-building projects in Africa, Europe, Asia, 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.
- K.S. Smith Rotabi, S. Mapp, K.E. Cheney, R. Fong & R. McRoy (2017). Regulating commercial global surrogacy: The best interests of the child. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, 2 (3), 64-73. doi: 10.1007/s41134-017-0034-3[go to publisher's site]
- K.E. Cheney & L.A. Okwany (2017). Introduction: Toward social justice for children and youth in East Africa. Childhood in Africa, 4 (1), 4-10.
- K.E. Cheney, A. Kamusiime & A. Mekonnen Yimer (2017). Feeling ‘Blue’: Pornography and Sex Education in Eastern Africa. IDS Bulletin, 48 (1), 81-97. doi: 10.19088/1968-2017.107[go to publisher's site]
- S. Mukasa Namubiru & K.E. Cheney (2017). Embedding social justice in Ugandan adoption and legal guardianship cases. Childhood in Africa, 4 (1), 23-33.
- K.E. Cheney (2016). Preventing exploitation, promoting equity: findings from the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy 2014. Adoption & Fostering, 40 (1), 6-19. doi: 10.1177/0308575915626377
- K.E. Cheney (2015). Suffering, silence, and status: the importance and challenges of qualitative research on AIDS orphanhood. Aids Care-Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of Aids/Hiv, 27 (1), 38-40. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09540121.2014.963010[go to publisher's site]
- K.E. Cheney (2015). Invisible Children fades away: What it means for the future of youth activism. Anthropology Today, 31 (5), 8-11. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8322.12198[go to publisher's site]
- K.E. Cheney (2015). Blood binds: Confronting the moral and political economies of orphanhood and adoption in Uganda. Childhood-A Global Journal of Child Research, 1-15. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0907568215602319[go to publisher's site]
- H. Farahat & K.E. Cheney (2015). A facade of democracy: Negotiating the rights of orphans in Jordan. Global Studies of Childhood, 5 (2), 146-157. doi: 10.1177/2043610615586101
- D. Watson, K.E. Cheney & H.R. Ezzat (2015). Children and young people in times of conflict and change: Child rights in the Middle East and North Africa. Global Studies of Childhood, 5 (2), 115-121. doi: 10.1177/2043610615586106
- K.E. Cheney (2014). Africa (2nd ed.). Oxford bibliographies online: Childhood studies. doi: www.academia.edu/.../_Africa_2nd_ed._2014
- K.E. Cheney (2014). Giving children a ‘better life’? Reconsidering social reproduction and humanitarianism in intercountry adoption. European Journal of Development Research, 26, 247-263. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/ejdr.2013.64
- K.E. Cheney (2012). Africa. Oxford bibliographies online: Childhood studies. doi: 10.1093/OBO/9780199791231-0036
- K.E. Cheney (2012). Locating Neocolonialism," Tradition," and Human Rights in Uganda's" Gay Death Penalty. African Studies Review, 55 (2), 77-95. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/arw.2012.0031
- K.E. Cheney (2012). Killing Them Softly? Using Children’s Rights to Empower Africa’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children. International Social Work, 56 (1), 92-102.
- K.E. Cheney (2011). Children as ethnographers: reflections on the importance of participatory research in assessing orphans¿ needs. Childhood-A Global Journal of Child Research, 18 (2), 166-179. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0907568210390054
- K.E. Cheney (2010). Expanding vulnerability, dwindling resources : implications for orphaned futures is Uganda. Childhood in Africa, 2 (1), 8-15.
- K.E. Cheney (2010). A debate beyond sexuality : 'tradition', human rights and Uganda's gay death penalty. Anthropology news, 51 (6), 30-30.[go to publisher's site]
- K.E. Cheney (2010). Deconstructing childhood vulnerability : an introduction. Childhood in Africa, 2 (1), 4-7.[go to publisher's site]
- K.E. Cheney (2007). Global Rights Discourse, National Developments, and Local Childhoods: Dilemmas of Childhood and Nationhood in Uganda, East Africa. In R. Findlay & S. Salbayre (Eds.), Histoires d’enfant, histoires d’enfance, Tome I: Civilisation (GRAAT No. 36, June 2007) Histoire de l' Education. Tours, France: Presses Universitaires François Rabelais
- K.E. Cheney (2005). Our children have only known war: Children's experiences and the uses of childhood in northern Uganda. Children's Geographies, 3 (1), 23-45.
- K.E. Cheney (2005). Claiming Children¿s Rights: Children and the `Culture of Constitutionalism¿ in Uganda¿s Primary School Music Festivals. Image & Narrative, 11 (2).
- K.E. Cheney (2004). Village Life is Better than Town Life¿: Identity, Migration, and Development in the Lives of Ugandan Child Citizens. African Studies Review, 47 (3), 1-22.
- K.E. Cheney (2003). Did the constitution produce my children!?¿: Negotiating Ugandan childhood and nationhood through performance. African Identities, 1 (1), 79-94.
- K.E. Cheney (2017). Crying for our elders: African orphanhood in the age of HIV and AIDS. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press
- K.E. Cheney (2007). Pillars of the Nation: Child Citizens and Ugandan National Development. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press
Book Contributions (10)
- K.E. Cheney (2018). Anthropology and the Politics of Childhood in Africa. In R.R. Grinker, S.C. Lubkemann & C. Steiner (Eds.), Companion to the Anthropology of Africa (Wiley Blackwell Companions to Anthropology). RRRRR: Wiley-Blackwell
- K.E. Cheney (2018). International Commercial Surrogacy: Beyond Feminist Conundrums and the Child as Product. In R. Rosen, K. Twamley & A. Varley (Eds.), Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes? London: UCL Press
- K.E. Cheney (2018). The Making of 'Orphans': How the 'Orphan Rescue' Movement is Transforming Family and Jeopardizing Child Wellbeing in Uganda. In M.R.T. de Guzman, J. Brown & C. Pope Edwards (Eds.), Parenting From Afar and the Reconfiguration of Family Across Distance. Oxford: Oxford University Press
- K.E. Cheney (2016). Blood always finds a way home: AIDS orphanhood and the transformation of kinship, fosterage, and children’s circulation strategies in Uganda. In C. Hunner-Kreisel & S. Bohne (Eds.), Childhood, Youth and Migration: Connecting Global and Local Perspectives (Children’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research, 12) (pp. 245-259). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing
- K.E. Cheney & K.S. Rotabi (2015). Addicted to Orphans: how the orphan industrial complex jeopardizes child protection. In K. Horschelmann & C. Harker (Eds.), Geographies of Children and Young People. Springer
- K.E. Cheney (2014). Conflicting protectionist and participation models of children’s rights: Their consequences for Uganda’s orphans and vulnerable children. In A. Twum-Danso Imoh & N. Ansell (Eds.), Children's lives in an era of childrens rights : the progress of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Africa (Routledge Research in Human Rights Law) (pp. 17-33). New York: Routledge
- K.E. Cheney (2013). Malik and His Three Mothers: AIDS Orphans¿ Survival Strategies and How Children¿s Rights Translations Hinder Them. In K. Hanson & O. Nieuwenhuys (Eds.), Reconceptualizing Children's Rights in International Development: : Living Rights, Social Justice, Translations (pp. 152-172). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- K.E. Cheney (2012). Seen but not Heard: African Orphanhood as Lived Experience. In M.O. Ensor (Ed.), African Childhoods: Education, Development, Peacebuilding, and the Youngest Continent (pp. 95-108). New York: Palgrave Macmillan
- K.E. Cheney (2011). Ethnographic research with young people on AIDS orphans¿ survival strategies in Uganda. In P. Alderson & V. Morrow (Eds.), The Ethics of Research with Children and Young People : A Practical Handbook (pp. 61-61). London: Sage
- K.E. Cheney (2008). Forced military conscription. In C.M. Renzetti & J.L. Edleson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of interpersonal violence. Los Angeles: Sage publishers
Other Output (39)
- K.E. Cheney & L.A. Okwany (Eds.). (2017) Childhood in Africa, 4 (1).
- K.E. Cheney (2016). The making of 'orphans': How the adoption movement is transforming family and jeopardizing child wellbeing in Uganda. 5th International Conference on Adoption Research (ICAR5): Auckland, New Zealand (2016, januari 7 - 2016, januari 11).
- K.E. Cheney (Ed.). (2015) Global Studies of Childhood, 5(2).
- K.E. Cheney (Ed.). (2015) AnthropoChildren: Perspectives ethnographiques sur les enfants et l’enfance.
- K.E. Cheney & A. Sinervo (2015, november 17). Children as objects of humanitarian intervention: NGO commodification of disadvantaged childhoods. Denver, CO, USA, American Anthropological Association NGO and Nonprofit Interest Group conference “NGO-graphies”.
- K.E. Cheney (2015, november 22). “Feeling 'Blue': exploring the influence of pornography and sexualized media on young people's sexual identity formation in eastern Africa”. Denver, CO, USA, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting.
- K.E. Cheney & A. Okwany (2015, juni 9). Promoting Youth-Led Participatory Research: overcoming presumptions and prejudices. European University, Nicosia, Cyprus, 3rd international conference of the International Childhood and Youth Research Network.
- K.E. Cheney (2015, november 4). ‘Feeling Blue’: studying the effects of children’s exposure to pornography and other sexually explicit media. Harare, Zimbabwe, Child Sensitive Social Policies conference, ‘Tracking child rights in Africa through research’.
- K.E. Cheney (2015, april 20). Feeling 'Blue': exploring the influence of pornography and sexualised media on young people's sexual identity formation in Eastern Africa. University of Groningen, Netherlands, Population Policies and Interventions Masters course.
- K.E. Cheney (2014, april 10). Waithood and Restricted Futures: focusing on the involvement of youth in the development of SRHR programmes. ISS, The Hague, Netherlands:, Partos Symposium on Youth Research and Development.
- K.E. Cheney (Interview) (2015, okt 18). De Bulgaarse adoptie-industrie. [televisie-uitzending]. In Brandpunt Reporter. The Hague: KRO. http://www.npo.nl/brandpunt-reporter/18-10-2015/KN_1673048
- K.E. Cheney (2014). Organizer, International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy.
- K.E. Cheney (2014, februari 21). 'Addicted to Orphans': Donor Influence in Uganda's Child Protection System. ISHS, University of Liège, Belgium, Young Lives and Globalization in Africa.
- K.E. Cheney (2014). Expert Meeting on Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
- K.E. Cheney (2014, augustus 22). ‘Addicted to Orphans’: The Orphan Industrial Complex and Donor Influence in Uganda’s Child Protection System. National University, Galway, Ireland, Keynote Speaker for Symposium on 'Children, Young People and Development'.
- K.E. Cheney (2014, september 16). Manning Up Women or Resisting Pornification? Interrogating Daily Sexism and Misogyny. University of Amsterdam, Netherlands:, Discussant for IS Academie Education and International Development lecture series event.
- K.E. Cheney (2014, februari 14). Blood Binds: confronting the moral and political economies of orphanhood and international adoption in Uganda. Berlin, Germany, Doing Politics – Making Kinship: Back towards a Future Anthropology of Social Organisation and Belonging.
- K.E. Cheney (Ed.). (2014) Childhood-A Global Journal of Child Research.
- K.E. Cheney (2014, november 21). Why does the post-2015 development agenda need to pay more attention to children’s issues? University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, International Development Studies Lecture Series.
- K.E. Cheney (2013). 'Baby Come Back': Child Circulation, Crises of Social Reproduction, and the Politica. IIPPE - International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy 4th Annual Conference in Political Economy: The Hague, Netherlands (2013, juli 9 - 2013, juli 11).
- K.E. Cheney (2013, november 7). ‘Baby come back’: inter-country adoption, globalization, and crises of social reproduction. Bilbao, Spain, 4th International Conference on Adoption Research / ICAR4.
- K.E. Cheney (2013, april 5). Theorizing intercountry adoption in the global economy of childhood. San Diego, CA, USA, Society for Psychological Anthropology/Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group joint meeting.
- K.E. Cheney (2013). AIDS Orphanhood and the Transformation of Kinship, Fosterage, and Children’s Circulation Strategies in Uganda. International Conference on Children and Migration: Gendered and Generational Perspectives: University of Vechta, Germany (2013, december 5 - 2013, december 6).
- K.E. Cheney (2013, november 20). Recontextualizing the NGO as Fieldsite: Questions from the Field [Roundtable]. Chicago, IL, The Future of NGO Studies conference.
- K.E. Cheney & L.A. Okwany (2013, juni 10). Neocolonialism and Homophobia in Uganda. ISS, The Hague, Netherlands, Development Research Seminar/Sexuality Research Initiative series.
- K.E. CheneyA Multidisciplinary Approach: Anthropological Perspectives. Antwerp, Belgium, Human Rights for Development (HR4DEV) international training programme 2013.
- K.E. CheneyRendering Invisible Children Visible: New Media, 'Spectacular Humanitarianism', and the Problem with Youth Activism in Kony 2012. Chicago, IL, USA, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting.
- K.E. Cheney“Blood Always Finds a Way Home": AIDS Orphanhood and the Transformation of Kinship, Fosterage, and Children’s Circulation Strategies in Uganda. The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK, AEGIS Thematic Workshop: Children & Migration in Africa: an Interdisciplinary Perspective.
- K.E. Cheney (2012, augustus 28). ‘Giving Them a Better Life’?: Poverty, Inequality, and the Circulation of Children in Difficult Circumstances. University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, Children and Youth Studies program lecture.
- K.E. CheneyChildren as ethnographers: Reflections on the importance of participatory research in assessing orphans’ needs. KIT, Bhubaneswar, India, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences Inter-Congress on ‘Children and Youth in a Changing World’.
- K.E. CheneySeen but Not Heard: African Orphanhood as Lived Experience. San Francisco, CA, USA, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting.
- K.E. CheneyAdoption and the Contradictory Significance of ‘Blood’ in the Era of AIDS Orphanhood. Center for the Study of Childhood and Youth, University of Sheffield, UK, Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth 4th International Conference, ‘Celebrating Childhood Diversity’.
- K.E. CheneyHIV/AIDS Orphanhood, Vulnerability, and the Conundrum of Humanitarian Intervention in Africa. Liege, Belgium, Towards an Anthropology of Childhood and Children conference.
- K.E. CheneyRethinking Humanitarianism Involving Children. Charleston, SC, USA, American Anthropological Association Childhood Interest Group (AAACIG) joint meeting with the Society for Cross-Cultural Research (SCCR).
- K.E. CheneyLocating Neocolonialism, ‘Tradition’, and Human Rights in Uganda’s ‘Gay Death Penalty’. Montreal, Canada, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting.
- K.E. Cheney (2011, april 4). Killing Them Softly? Conflicting Protectionist and Empowerment Models of Children’s Rights and their Consequences for African AIDS Orphans. New York, NY, USA, Columbia University Human Rights Seminar.
- K.E. Cheney (2011, juni 9). Locating Neocolonialism, ‘Tradition’, and Human Rights in Uganda’s ‘Gay Death Penalty’. Leiden University, Netherlands, African Studies Center Seminar.
- K.E. CheneyWhose ‘Best Interests?’ Revisiting African Orphan Circulation and Children’s Rights in the Age of HIV/AIDS. New Orleans, LA, USA, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting.
- K.E. CheneyChildren as Ethnographers of Childhood: the benefits of participatory research with African AIDS orphans. VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, The Doors of Perception: Viewing Anthropology through the Eyes of Children conference.
Childhood-A Global Journal of Child Research
American Anthropological Association Anthropology of Children & Youth Interest Group
Co-founder and Convener
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3000 DR Rotterdam