'A Conference on the Study of Lives through Time' to be held at Penn State

The Center for Life Course and Longitudinal Studies (C2LS) will host “It’s About Time: A Conference on the Study of Lives through Time,” on Wednesday-Thursday, May 29-30, at the Penn Stater Conference Center on the University Park campus.

All those who are interested are welcome to attend. Registration is required at the conference website.

Formed in 2010 as a collaborative effort between the College of the Liberal Arts and the Department of Sociology, C2LS’s primary mission is fostering the development of research and scholarship at Penn State in the study of human lives. The center’s focus, and that of affiliated faculty, is on the nature and determinants of human life transitions and processes in the unfolding of lives, including the study of age-related development as a social process and the consideration of multiple interdependent environmental influences on individual change.

This year’s conference considers the state of knowledge in the area of longitudinal studies of the life course and its future. The presentations made by life course scholars, representing universities in the United States and Europe, will serve as the basis of thought and discussion regarding the adequacy of current longitudinal designs to inform elements of the life course paradigm.

The conception of the life course employed in this conference includes the well-known elements: human development across the entire life-span, human agency in the construction of lives, social networks and the linked nature of lives, the importance of time (both biographical and historical), considerations of social stratification and inequality, and the timing and sequence of influential events, exposures and transitions, as well as their consequences.

This conference addresses the extent to which longitudinal research designs help answer these questions. The presentations will cover a wide range of issues spanning the diversity of methodological strategies and the nature of longitudinal designs.

Results of the conference will be disseminated widely in traditional academic outlets, as well as in press releases at the time of the conference. An ultimate goal of the conference is the potential publication of an edited book of collected papers on this topic.