'Lives of Color' conference to examine race-ethnicity and life development

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A Conference on “Lives of Color: Race-ethnicity and the Life Course” will be held June 12-14 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center, on Penn State's University Park campus.

The conference is sponsored by the Center for Life Course and Longitudinal Studies (C2LS), a collaboration between the Department of Sociology and the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State. More information about the center and some of the past C2LS workshops and conferences can be found at the C2LS website.

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 and ethnic 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. The confluence of these trends convinces us 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, in turn, better inform the society in which we live.

With these objectives in mind, the conference will gather a group of scholars who work on race-ethnic issues at various stages in the life course, from birth through childhood, to adolescence, midlife and older age. The goal is to develop a broader view of racial-ethnic disparities across the entire life span.

Over the 2 days of the conference, presentations will provide a basis for thought and discussion regarding how life course theories can further our understanding of “lives of color,” in combination with the development of innovative research approaches and methodology.

The aim of the conference is to advance knowledge about the interplay of social structures and institutionalized aspects of the life course that differentially affect people of color. Researchers are especially keen on understanding some of the unique differences in the lives of minority and disadvantaged groups, and through conference discussions hope to broaden their understanding of the diversity of human lives.

Registration is free and open for Penn State faculty and students. To register, contact Kerri Weitzel ( or fill out the online registration form.

Last Updated May 25, 2017