Intersectionality in developmental research


The previously funded co-chairs (Drs. Carlos Santos and Russell Toomey) of the Society for Research on Adolescence Intersectionality in the Developmental Science Working Group proposes that SRCD fund special topic workshop on intersectionality. This workshop would allow the group to expand on the work conducted in the 2016 meeting to consider how an intersectional lens reshapes and informs developmental science. The proposed workshop would include members of the SRA working group as well as 30-45 additional attendees whose work attends to the systemic, interlocking nature of oppression and its effects on development and wellbeing among children and adolescents. The focus on intersectionality and the potential products that would stem from the workshop inform all five goals included in SRCD’s strategic plan.

Our interdisciplinary working group, which includes graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty with training in American studies, developmental sciences, family sciences, sociology, and social, community, and counseling psychology, met for the first time in April 2016 at the University of Arizona. Our initial three-day meeting was filled will great dialogue and discussion about what we mean by “intersectionality,” how it might be applied to the developmental sciences, and the strengths and challenges of integrating this critical, interpretive framework into our theories and empirical work. Several products emerged from the meeting, including a published special issue in New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development (2018) and a blog series focused on the trials and tribulations of intersectionality-framed developmental science (see for the introductory post). The special issue in New Directions offers a lively discussion of how developmental science can transform itself to better address intersecting oppressions and affordances, and the role that this integration has in furthering our understanding of development of diverse adolescents and young adults. The issue contains five contributions (each authored by a member of the working group, an introduction by Carlos and Russ, and an epilogue by one of the working group members).

A workshop aimed at examining theoretical and methodological issues that arise when investigating systemic issues of oppression in the lives of children and adolescents could bring together an innovative and interdisciplinary team of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.


What a generative group and exciting proposal! Let’s hope it’s funded!


This is a great idea! Developmental science has a long way to go with incorporating intersectionality into the field.


Such a great idea for workshop - this perspective would help push the field in important ways! I would definitely attend!


I’m super excited to continue building on our collaborative work on intersectionality and its applications to developmental science!

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I’d love to see a meeting on this topic!