Kenda Mutongi was born and raised in a small village in western Kenya. She attended Coe College and then the University of Virginia where she earned a PhD in African history. Mutongi has published articles in the main African Studies journals. She is also the author of two books: Worries of the Heart: Widows, Family, and Community in Kenya (University of Chicago Press, 2007), which received an Honorable Mention from the African Studies Association’s Melville J. Herskovits Award for the best scholarly book on Africa in any discipline, and Making it in Nairobi: Matatu Culture and Political Economy in the New Africa (forthcoming). Mutongi has served as chair of the Africana Studies and the Africa/Middle Eastern Studies Programs. She has also been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and a fellow at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. She recently accepted a position as a member at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for the 2013/14 academic year.