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Hillary Fouts

Professor, Co-Director for the Early Experiences Research Center (EERC)


Hillary Fouts is a cultural anthropologist and a Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies. Her research is interdisciplinary and focuses mainly on parenting practices and social-emotional development, with emphasis on understanding the role of ecological, biological, and cultural factors in infants’ and children’s experiences and interactions with various caregivers and social partners. Her research is conducted in diverse cultural and socioeconomic contexts internationally and in the United States, with special interest in rural and urban populations from Central and East Africa.


  • Parenting and alloparenting of infants and toddlers
  • Social-emotional development
  • Social-cultural learning and play
  • Infant and child feeding and health


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Washington State University, 2002
  • Post-doctoral fellow, National Institute for Childhood Health and Human Development, Section on Social and Emotional Development, 2002-2005

 Curriculum Vitae

Awards and Recognitions

  • Wenner Gren Research Grant (2016-2018), project title: A Bio-Cultural Perspective of Parenting and Environmental Risk among the Gamo People in Southern Ethiopia.
  • Candidate at the HERS Leadership Institute, Wellesley College (2016-2017); sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor and the Department of Child and Family Studies.
  • The Jacky DeJonge Award (2013) from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.
  • The Angie Warren Perkins Award (2012) from the Office of the Chancellor and the Commission for Women; awarded for showing outstanding promise in scholarship, teaching, and other contributions to campus intellectual life.


Selected Recent Publications

Bentley, R.A., Ruck, D.J., & Fouts, H.N. (2019, online). The delayed effect of added sugars on U.S. obesity. Economics and Human Biology

Salinas, D, Fouts, H. N., Neitzel, C. L., Bates-Fredi, D. R. (2019). Young Children’s Social Networks in an Informal Urban Settlement in Kenya. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 50(5), 639-658.

Bader, L. R., Fouts, H. N., & Jaekel, J. (2019). Mothers’ feelings about infants’ negative emotions and mother-infant interactions among the Gamo of Southern Ethiopia. Infant Behavior and Development, 54, 22-36.

Bader, L. R. & Fouts, H. N. (2018). Cultural models of infant emotions and needs among the Gamo people of Southern Ethiopia. Infant Mental Health Journal, 39(5), 497-510.

Hallam, R. A., Bargreen, K., Fouts, H. N., Lessard, L. & Skrobot, C. (2018). The use of infant confinement equipment in community-based child care centers: An analysis of centers participating in a statewide quality rating and improvement system. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 22(5), 694-701.

Fouts, H. N., *McAteer, C. I., Neitzel, C. L., & Bates-Fredi, D. R. (2017). Residential crowding and young children’s social and emotional behaviors in a Burundian refugee community. Children, Youth and Environments, 27(3), 34-55.

Fouts, H.N., Neitzel, C.L., & *Bader, L.R. (2016). Work-themed play among young children in foraging and farming communities in Central Africa. Behaviour, 153, 663-691.

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