Lives of Color: Race-Ethnicity & the Life Course

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Penn State University, June 12-14, 2017Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center, University Park, PA


As a result of the confluence of these trends, we have become convinced that by using a life course lens on racial and ethnic disparities in social life we can better understand some of these observed patterns and processes and better inform the society in which we live. 

The recent resurgence of interest across the social sciences in the childhood origins of later life health and risks of mortality prompts attention to the broader question of the nature of the life course for racial and ethnic communities. Racial disparities occur throughout the life span and some of these disparities result in clear differences in the social worlds of racial-ethnic groups. In this regard, the events of the past five years concerning the lives of young minority group members have stimulated social scientists to seek a deeper understanding of what's going on in our society with respect to race-ethnicity and the development of lives.

With this objective in mind, we have decided to gather a group of scholar/researchers who work on race-ethnic issues at various stages in the life course, from birth through childhood, to adolescence, midlife and older age; and to develop a broader view of racial-ethnic disparities across the entire life span. 

Our objective is to develop a set of presentations that will serve as the basis of thought and discussion regarding the potential of life course theories to understand "lives of color," in combination with innovative research approaches and methodology that will advance knowledge about the interplay of social structures and institutionalized aspects of the life course that differentially affect lives of color. We are especially keen on understanding some of the unique differences in the lives of minority and disadvantaged groups, and we want your help in broadening our understanding of the diversity of human lives.

Results of the conference will be disseminated widely in traditional academic outlets, as well as press releases at the time of the conference. The ultimate goal of the conference is the publication of an edited collected of papers on the interface between the study of race-ethnic disparities and the life course.


Organizing Committee

Duane F. Alwin, Penn State University
S. Michael Gaddis, Penn State University
Molly Martin, Penn State University
Linda Wray, Penn State University

Contact , Administrative Assistant, with interest in attending the conference.