Nancy Kendall

Professor, Department Chair

(608) 265-5955

235 Education Building

1000 Bascom Mall

Madison, WI 53706-1326

Kendall, Nancy

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Nancy Kendall is professor of educational policy studies. Her research examines the consequences of national and international policies and funding streams directed at improving the lives and wellbeing of children, communities, and states positioned as “marginalized” by national and international regimes.

Research projects have examined Education for All, political democratization and educational governance, structural adjustment and education, US higher education, sexuality and HIV/AIDS education, and gender and schooling. Kendall has conducted extended research in Malawi, Mozambique, and the U.S., and has conducted short-term research in Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Zimbabwe. Kendall was a 2009 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation postdoctoral fellow, and 2019 recipient of the Lyle Spencer Foundation Award. She has received research support from the Fulbright Foundation, Social Science Research Council, TAG Philanthropic Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, WT Grant Foundation, and Lumina Foundation, among others. She is the author of The Sex Education Debates (University of Chicago Press, 2012), and has published in journals including Compare, Comparative Education Review, Current Issues in Comparative Education, Educational Assessment Evaluation and Accountability, International Journal of Educational Development, and Sexuality Research and Social Policy.

Kendall is Chair of Educational Policy Studies and Director of the African Studies Program and the Development Studies Program. She is affiliated with the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and is a member of the 4W Leadership Circle and the Advisory Council for the Global Health Initiative.


  • Ph D International and Comparative Education, Stanford University, 2004
  • BA Cultural and Social Anthropology, Brown University, 1996

Select Publications

  • Mkandawire-Valhmu, L., & Kendall, N. Women’s work at end of life: The intersecting gendered vulnerabilities of patients and caregivers in rural Malawi Global Public Health
  • Kendall, N., Kaunda, Z., & Majee, U. (2019) Decolonial Approaches to AIDS, Children’s Wellbeing, and Education in Malawi Handbook of Quality of Life in African Societies Springer.
  • Kendall, N., & Silver, R. (2016) Meetings and International Development Aid Meeting Ethnography New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Kendall, N., Kaunda, Z., & Friedson-Rideneour, S. (2015) Power and the Potential for Transformative Participatory Development: The Case of Malawi's Participatory Action for School Improvement Project Educational Assessment, Accountability and Evaluation, 27(1), 65-83.
  • Kendall, N. (2013) Sexuality Education APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology: Vol. 2. Contextual Approaches Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
  • Chisamya, G., deJaghere, J., Kendall, N., & Khan, M. (2012) Gender and Education for All: Progress and Problems in Achieving Equality International Journal of Educational Development, 32(6), 743-755.
  • Kendall, N. (2012) The Sex Education Debates Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  • Kendall, N. (2008) 'Vulnerability' in AIDS-Affected States: Rethinking Child Rights, Educational Institutions, and Development Paradigms International Journal of Educational Development, 28(4), 365-383.
  • Kendall, N. (2007) Education for All Meets Political Democratization: Free Primary Education and the Neoliberalization of the Malawian School and State Comparative Education Review, 51(3), 281-305.
  • Kendall, N. (2007) Parental and Community Participation in Improving Educational Quality In Africa: Current Practices and Future Possibilities International Review of Education, 53(5-6), 701-708.

Select Presentations

  • Kendall, N., Comparative and International Education Society Annual Meeting, "Anthropology’s Epistemologies: Can Deconstruction, Decoloniality, and Settler Coloniality Get Us “Beyond the Human”?" (2020)
  • Kendall, N., Ress, S., & Friedson-Ridenour, S., Comparative and International Education Society Annual Meeting, "Social Practices and Responses to Environmental Change Among Ghanaian and Malawian Youth" (2020)
  • Kendall, N., Chudgar, A., & Luschei, T., UK Education and Development Forum, "Problematizing “relevant” secondary education for marginalized youth" (2019)
  • Kendall, N., Invited Speaker, "Is Girls’ Education Dangerous? Girl-focused Education and Sexual Health Interventions in International Development" (2019)
  • Kendall, N., American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, "(Im)possibilities: Gender, Imagined Futures, and Precarious Presents" (2018)
  • Kendall, N., & Wolfgram, M., American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, "“Stressed”: Low-Income College Students’ Embodiments of Precarity Following the Historic Rise of Inequality and State Disinvestment from Public Higher Education" (2018)
  • Kendall, N., Comparative and International Education Society Annual Meeting, "From Girls' Education to Grandmother-Centered Educational Reform" (2018)
  • Kendall, N., Comparative and International Education Society Annual Meeting, "Impact Evaluation: Rethinking how and what we know about development education" (2017)
  • Kendall, N., Invited Keynote, "Educational Equity and Quality" (2016)
  • Kendall, N., American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, "Belonging, Abandonment, and Sacrifice: Orphanhood and Schooling in Malawi" (2015)

Select Awards and Honors

  • Mid-Career Investigator Award, Vilas Faculty,
  • Honored Instructor (2016, 2017), University of Wisconsin Madison, University Housing,
  • Distinguished Faculty Award, UW-Madison School of Education,
  • Community Engaged Scholarship Award, UW-Madison School of Education,
  • National Academy of Education/Spencer Post-doctoral Fellowship, NAE/Spencer Foundation, (2009, 2011)
  • Post-PhD Research Grant, Wenner-Gren, (2008, 2010)
  • Fulbright Research/Teaching Fellowship, Mozambique, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, (2008, 2009)
  • Child on the Wing Fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation, (2008, 2006)
  • Sexuality Fellowship, Social Science Research Council, (2004, 2006)
  • Gail P. Kelly Dissertation Award, Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), (2004, 2005)