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Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents: Understanding the Invisible Scaffolding That Divides Us

Isabel Wilkerson
Thursday, February 22, 2024
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Isabel Wilkerson
Terry Sanford Distinguished Lecture

"As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is power - which groups have and which do not."

Pulitzer Prize Winner Isabel Wilkerson discusses the history and consequences of our country's centuries-old hierarchies and the ways in which we all have been affected by these embedded divisions. She offers a holistic approach to understanding ourselves and our society and shares urgent insights into our current era of rupture and uncertainty, pointing toward hope in our common humanity.

Wilkerson will speak at Duke as part of the Sanford Lecture Series. Endowed by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, this prestigious lecture is open to the public and the entire Duke University campus. The lecture series intends to promote engaged and enlightened leadership. The lectures are held in honor of the late Terry Sanford, a bold leader who served as North Carolina governor, U.S. senator, president of Duke University, and founder of the Sanford School of Public Policy. Duke recently celebrated 50 years of public policy in 2021-2022. Event partners include the Sanford School of Public Policy, May Lou Williams Center, and Duke Centennial. For questions about this event, please feel free to email

Contact: Sanford Events