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Santos Sees Developmental Science Through Intersectional Lens

Social Welfare Assistant Professor Carlos Santos is the co-editor of the latest publication of the journal New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. Santos, who recently joined the UCLA Luskin faculty, is also a co-contributor to the special edition titled, “Envisioning the Integration of an Intersectional Lens in Developmental Science.” With a background in developmental psychology, Santos notes that he “adheres to the belief that developmental phenomena must be studied across diverse disciplines and perspectives,” and this project draws on the “largely interdisciplinary interpretive framework of intersectionality” — a view underscoring “how systems of oppression overlap to create inequities,” including heterosexism, racism, ableism or issues affecting those who are undocumented. His research has focused on gender and ethnic identities, stereotypes and their impacts on social adjustment, mental health and educational outcomes among adolescents and young adults in communities of color. Citing the relative lack of an intersectionality lens in the developmental sciences, Santos and co-author and editor Russell B. Toomey designed the publication to bring together developmental scientists who are actively incorporating intersectionality scholarship into their research. Each of the contributors was asked the following question: How can an intersectionality perspective inform the developmental phenomena of interest and particular developmental theories you draw upon in your area of research? “A lot of this piece is grappling with how to reinvent all of this to better capture the ways in which oppressions overlap. I really feel committed to that goal, to better understand that.”

Carlos Santos