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Renowned author, activist, Peggy McIntosh to present Feb. 6 lecture at Whitworth

January 7, 2014
McIntosh will meet with students, faculty and staff during daylong campus visit

Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D., will present a lecture, “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack: Privilege, Education, and the Vision of Achieving Inclusion,” at Whitworth University on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public. 

McIntosh consults with higher-education institutions worldwide on creating multicultural and gender-fair curricula. Prior to her Whitworth lecture, McIntosh will spend the day meeting with students, faculty and staff to explore the reality of privilege associated with the constructs of race, gender and sexuality, and the corresponding implications for inclusive education. “Whitworth has been doing deep reflective work on building inclusiveness at the university and I am pleased to be invited to share in its next steps,” McIntosh says. During her campus visit, McIntosh says she will relate the ways she came to identify white privilege and the methods she uses to weaken systems that reward unearned power.

McIntosh is the author of many influential articles on curriculum change, women’s studies and systems of unearned privilege. She is best known for authoring the groundbreaking article "White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies” (1988). This analysis and its excerpted form, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” (1989), have been instrumental in adding the dimension of privilege to discussions of gender, race and sexuality. The article sets forth the concept of white privilege, a theoretical construct that has since significantly influenced anti-racist theory and practice as well as other activist movements.

Whitworth Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Intercultural Relations Larry Burnley hopes community members who hear McIntosh’s lecture will come away feeling challenged and compelled to think more deeply about the ways they benefit from or are disadvantaged by various forms of power and privilege.

“The goal is to offer participants an experience that will result in critical thought and self-reflection that will enhance their ability to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity,” Burnley says. “Students and others who hear McIntosh speak will be given the opportunity to have their own unconscious privilege and bias brought to a conscious level.”

McIntosh is the associate director of the Wellesley Centers for Women, and the founder and co-director of the National SEED (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) Project on Inclusive Curriculum. She is also the co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute, and she has taught courses in English, American studies and women’s studies at schools including Harvard University, Trinity College and Durham University, in England. She holds two honorary degrees and is a recipient of the Klingenstein Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership from Columbia Teachers College.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or