Campus News

Feminist scholar will open new diversity lecture series

Peggy McIntosh, a professor at Wellesley College and a national expert on privilege, will deliver an address in the Chapel on March 19 at 7 p.m. The event, the first in the new Franklin Diversity Lecture series, is open free to the public.

McIntosh is associate director of the Wellesley Centers for Women and co-founder of the SEED or Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity Project, which helps teachers create their own year-long, school-based seminars on making school climates, K-12 curricula and teaching methods more sensitive to gender and multicultural issues.

McIntosh is internationally known for her groundbreaking essay “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies.”

She also will hold a question-and-answer session with graduate students March 20 from 10 to 11:15 a.m. in studio 553 on the fifth floor of the Georgia Center.

“The visit of Dr. McIntosh to UGA is important because her voice speaks to the shared experience of ethnic minorities, women, gay men and lesbians, and those struggling economically or not being fully seen nor heard,” said Kecia Thomas, senior adviser on diversity and inclusion to the dean in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “Her work sheds light on the systemic advantages and disadvantages that maintain and reinforce the status quo while also limiting our ability to truly be diverse and inclusive in our institutions.”

McIntosh directs the Gender, Race and Inclusive Education Project, which provides workshops on privilege systems, feelings of fraudulence and diversifying workplaces, curricula and teaching methods. She has taught English, American studies and women’s studies at the Brearley School in New York City, Harvard University, Trinity College (Washington, D.C.), Durham University (England) and Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

She is co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute and has been consulting editor to Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women. In 1993-1994, she consulted with women on 22 Asian campuses on the development of women’s studies and programs to bring materials from women’s studies into the main curriculum.

“McIntosh’s work on white supremacy is striking for its clear honesty about the details of privilege and about the ways that injustices can seem ‘invisible’ to those who benefit from racism and other hierarchies,” said Chris Cuomo, director of the Institute for Women’s Studies. “Her careful analysis of privilege and oppression from either side invites us all to think and act with greater awareness and care.”  

Interest in McIntosh’s visit is high because her work crosses so many areas of interest. “Given the cross-campus support and enthusiasm for her visit, I expect this to be a standing-room-only event,” said Thomas, who also is a full professor in the department of psychology and the Institute for African-American Studies.

The Franklin Diversity Lectures are a new annual series that each year will bring a distinguished speaker to campus to address cutting-edge issues on diversity and inclusion. In addition to the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, sponsors of McIntosh’s visit include the Institute for African-American Studies, the department of counseling and human development services, the Office of Institutional Diversity, the College of Environment and Design, the College of Education, the department of lifelong education, administration and policy, the Terry College of Business Office of Diversity Relations, the Institute for Behavioral Research, the UGA Alumni Association, the department of psychology and the Institute for Women’s Studies.