What is the Power & Privilege Symposium?

The Power & Privilege Symposium is designed to make space for conversations about structural oppression, how they manifest themselves on the Whitman College campus and beyond, including, but not limited to, racism, sexism, ableism, capitalism, etc. The community unites to support the lectures, panels, discussions, and showcase created by our peers. The symposium strives to educate the community about the power structures prevailing around the world, questioning many of the paradigms which have socialized us. Our mission as a team is to create an environment that interrogates hard questions, the relationships, and structures of power and privilege. The symposium is a house for resources—beginning of questions and further investment in social justice.

This is the attitude with which we approach social justice. We do so unapologetically.

By Any Means Necessary is a sentiment that transcends the movements it explicitly originates from and challenges the colonized rules of resistance. It encourages accountability and self-interrogation in an effort to expose double standards in academia, and to open avenues for resisting systems of oppression.

Keynote: Teju Cole

Teju Colewith a serious look on his face.

Teju Cole is currently the Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard.  He is formerly the photography critic for The New York Times Magazine from 2015-2019 (a position he originated). In both writing and photography, Cole combines his eye for beauty with his capacity to perceive human and civic truth.

2021 Schedule

The symposium included many online events between Feb. 12–19, beginning with a series of speakers presented in partnership with the Race, Violence and Health Academic Theme Committee and the Whitman Events Board. February 18 was the main day of presentations, featuring four hour-long sessions, each with a variety of panels, presentations, discussions and workshops developed by Whitman students, staff and faculty.