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Culture and Family Life Lab, Fall 2021

Directed by Dr. Gail M. Ferguson, our lab is studying the impact of 21st Century globalization on cultural, developmental, and family processes including family health. We are working to better understand and promote the resilience of children and youth, while supporting and equipping their parents, to recognize and skillfully navigate many cultural influences stemming from local cultures in which they live (via ethnic/racial socialization & proximal acculturation), faraway new cultures (via remote acculturation), and faraway heritage cultures (via remote enculturation). 

We are transnational. We conduct our research and intervention internationally (especially in the Majority World / low/middle-income countries), and in the U.S. We often use the Jamaican Diaspora as a case study, meaning that we study both Jamaican non-immigrants living on the island and Jamaican immigrants living in the United States to develop new theory, research, and interventions that are later extended to other groups.

We are transdisciplinary. We have active transdisciplinary partnerships with scholars in media/advertising and nutrition.

We are translational. Our basic and applied research studies inform the development of preventive interventions to promote the resilience of globalizing youth and families.

Some topics of focus in the Culture and Family Life Lab are:

CFL Lab Statement in Support of Black Lives

On Tuesday, February 2, Mr. Amir Locke was fatally shot by Minneapolis police following a “no-knock” warrant on an apartment where he was sleeping. We recognize and honor the many emotions felt by Mr. Locke’s family and friends, as well as those felt by our community, ranging from grief, to anger, to anxiety, and beyond. At times like this, we especially want to affirm the humanity, value, rights, and dignity of our Black friends, colleagues, students, and families. Black lives matter and Black people are loved

The police killing of Mr. Locke follows a pattern of dehumanizing and violent treatment of the Black community, as well as other communities of color. In Minnesota, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are disproportionately killed by police, including Mr. George Floyd in 2020 and Mr. Daunte Wright in 2021. In the Culture and Family Life Lab, we understand the killing of Mr. Locke to be a sign and symptom of the broader Racism Pandemic (APA, 2020) and Whiteness Pandemic (Ferguson et al., 2021; Learn more), rather than an isolated event. 

We as researchers and members of this community have committed our lives to disrupting structural racism. We are embedded within the Institute of Child Development which supports these efforts (see department statement on anti-racism). At these times, we are reminded that we have much further to go and that we must care for each other to maintain our resilience and resistance on this journey. We direct members of our community to the following resources, which include support for coping with racial trauma and advice for allies.

Check out the latest happenings in the Lab!