Christine El Ouardani

Christine El Ouardani, Ph.D.14-136_C_ElOurdani_16

  • Associate Professor of Human Development
  • Email:
  • Phone: (562) 985-8997
  • Office hours for Fall 2023: Tuesdays @ 2:00-3:00pm and by appointment. Please email Dr. El Ouardani for an appointment.
  • Office Location: LA3-200E


  • Ph.D. (2013)  University of Chicago, Department of Comparative Human Development
  • M.A. (2005)  University of Chicago, Department of Comparative Human Development
  • B.A. (2002)  Michigan State University (in Psychology and International Relations)

Research Interests

I am a cultural, medical, and psychological anthropologist who focuses on the anthropology of childhood and the lifecourse in Morocco and in North America.  I have also completed training in clinical psychology up to the internship level.  My research, informed by both my anthropological training and my professional training in clinical psychology, examines how culture shapes socialization practices and knowledge about health and violence across educational, medical, and religious institutions in both Morocco and the United States. My current book project Discipline and Development: Negotiating Childhood, Authority, and Violence in Rural Morocco, examines the everyday lives of children and youth in a Moroccan village as they move through their families, classrooms, and medical clinics.  Drawing on twenty-nine months of fieldwork and funded by the Fulbright-Hays, the National Science Foundation, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and the American Institute of Maghib Studies, I analyze disciplinary interactions between children and caretakers in their extended families and local schools that were often both violent and playful.  In the book, I demonstrate how local conceptions of authority, care, pain, and violence are constructed and enacted in everyday life at different points throughout childhood, and in different institutions.  I thus show how examining the nuances of child socialization practices over time and children’s roles in family and community life provides a sharp lens through which to consider larger scale political, economic, and social change—in this case contested norms of authority and violence in Moroccan families. I have also conducted a nine-month ethnography at a mental health clinic concerned with the treatment of children who demonstrated extremely disruptive and aggressive behavior.  This work examined the production and use of diagnostic tools designed to identify intentionally aggressive and disruptive behavior in toddlers and preschoolers who were at risk for future psychopathy. I am developing two new projects.  The first is a multi-site, ethnographic project in Southern California examining how ideas about child mental health are negotiated in primary schools in the region and how these ideas affect the way that disruptive, aggressive behavior is managed in the school.  The second project will examine how older women in Morocco are experiencing aging in the context of both increased educational opportunities available to them and the increasingly normative experience of managing diabetes.


  • HDEV 305: Life Course and Generation in the Arab World
  • HDEV 307: Approaches to Childhood
  • HDEV 310: Qualitative Methods in Human Development
  • HDEV 320: Quantitative Methods in Human Development
  • HDEV 403: The Acquisition of Culture: Socialization in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • HDEV 407: Cultural Perspectives on Child & Adolescent Mental Health 
  • HDEV 470: Internship Seminar/Practicum
  • Violence and Trauma

Recent Publications

El Ouardani, Christine N. 2018.  Corporal Discipline Reform in a Rural Moroccan Classroom.  Anthropology and Education Quarterly.

El Ouardani, Christine N. 2017.  Innocent or Intentional?:  Interpreting Oppositional Defiant Disorder in a Preschool Mental Health Clinic.  Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry.

Chapin, Bambi, Christine El Ouardani, and Kathleen Barlow.  2015.  Socialization.  In Oxford  Bibliographies in Anthropology.   Ed. John Jackson.  New York: Oxford University Press. Nutter- 

El Ouardani, C.  2014.  Childhood and development in rural Morocco:  Cultivating reason and strength.  In D. Bowen, E. Early, and B. Schulthies (Eds.), Everyday Life in the Muslim Middle East 3rd ed., 24-38.  Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.