Invited Speaker: Dr. Laura McCloud/Thursday/October 6

The CSOC Club and the Department of Comparative Sociology are happy to announce our first invited speaker of the year. Dr. Laura McCloud, an assistant professor of sociology at Pacific Lutheran University, will visit our campus and speak about her work:

Coming of Age in the Red: Debt and the Transition to Adulthood
Thursday, October 6, 5:00 PM
SUB Room 101

Dr. McCloud will speak about how widespread indebtedness is transforming the process of becoming an adult.  Traditional-aged college students are becoming adults at a time with decreased subsidization of social goods and unprecedented access to credit alongside stagnant income for all but the top wage-earners. These social forces create a dramatic increase of indebtedness in the population.

Being able to borrow resources, instead of just relying on family or personal resources, brings great advantages and great disadvantages to young adults in contemporary American society. On one hand, young adults are no longer bound by their family’s resources when attempting to become independent. On the other hand, however, borrowing resources requires repayment which creates vulnerabilities for young adults later in life.

Debt researchers, including Dr. McCloud, are just now starting to ask about the implications of indebted individuals in society. In her scholarship, Dr. McCloud finds that debt affects young adults in several important ways, including their ability to become independent, the likelihood they will complete college, and even their self-concepts. These effects of debt, however, are rarely uniform for young adults and meaningful differences exist based on age, gender, and social class. While Dr. McCloud’s talk will discuss the findings of her recent scholarship, her talk will largely focus on the general implications of debt on American young adults.

Laura McCloud is an assistant professor of sociology at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. In 2010, she received her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio and previously earned her B.A. in sociology at the University of Cincinnati. Her research pursuits are most broadly influenced by a desire to understand how individualized risks affect social stratification; most of her work to date explores the relationship between debt and social class inequality to better understand this relationship. At PLU she teaches several sociology courses including Social Stratification, Major Theories, Consumption, and Introduction to Sociology.


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