McIntosh Presents on Privilege – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

McIntosh Presents on Privilege

Noted scholar, feminist and anti-racism activist Peggy McIntosh will visit Hobart and William Smith to deliver a guest talk and meet with HWS and local community members as part of the Colleges’ series of events commemorating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

McIntosh’s talk, “Understanding Privilege Systems: The Surprising Journey,” will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Known for her scholarly work on male and white privilege, McIntosh is the founder of the National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) and a senior research scientist and former associate director at the Wellesley Centers for Women, which is a women- and gender-focused, social-change oriented institute dedicated to research and action.

McIntosh is best known for her articles, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies” and “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.”

“I wouldn’t know how to teach the concept of privilege without Peggy McIntosh’s paper, ‘White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,'” says Associate Professor of Philosophy Karen Frost-Arnold. “It’s a personal and theoretically rich paper that really touches my students. I am so excited that Peggy McIntosh is visiting our campus.”

Her lecture will focus on how recognizing one’s own privilege can contribute to a more inclusive environment for positive change. In addition to her talk, McIntosh will be involved in several other campus events.

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, McIntosh will meet with HWS community members during “Student Activism: A Conversation with Peggy McIntosh.” The conversation will take place from 4:45 to 6 p.m. and will be held at Intercultural Affairs.

Later that evening on Jan. 26, McIntosh will serve as guest of a special community dinner with members of Geneva’s Tools for Social Change. The dinner begins at 6 p.m. and will be held in the Vandervort Room.

On Jan. 27, McIntosh will join with members of the HWS faculty for a lunch conversation, “White Privilege and the Classroom: Lessons Learned.” The event will take place from 12 to 2 p.m. in the Vandervort Room.

Joy Gitter ’16, who studied McIntosh’s work in class, hopes that she will help students “recognize their own privilege to see their part in a system that inherently disadvantages some students and privileges others, and how this is reflected on our campus.”

McIntosh’s current work includes leading the expansion of the SEED Project, with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The SEED Project helps teachers create their own year-long, school-based seminars on making school climates, K-16 curricula, and teaching methods more gender fair and multi-culturally equitable. 

McIntosh’s visit is made possible thanks to a collaboration among the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, the Office of Intercultural Affairs, the Office of Student Activities, the Office of Spiritual Engagement and the Office of the President. McIntosh’s speaking fee will go to the SEED Project to support equity and diversity in schools and the workplace.

For more information about the visit, please email Associate Director of Student Activities and Fraternity Adviser Kim Kochin at

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