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Lifelong Learning at Swarthmore

A Message from the Director

Hello from Swarthmore. I hope you had a good beginning to the new year!

It is with great pleasure that I am announcing the new LLS class for Spring 2023. After Carol Nackenoff’s class on the current supreme court in the fall, I am very excited that our spring class will address another important current topic: the recent political developments behind the divisions in our country. Bruce Dorsey, Professor of History, will teach a class entitled Divided America: The Origins of the Culture Wars. For more information, please read the class description below.

You also will find the dates and time for the class and instructions on how to register here. Lifelong Learning at Swarthmore is dedicated to making the classes available (and affordable) to all alums.

Thank you for your continued support of LLS. I look forward to seeing you in class.

Hansjakob Werlen
Director, Lifelong Learning at Swarthmore

This course began as an endeavor to guide Swarthmore students toward an understanding of historical developments before they were born that produced the divisive cultural politics engrained in the political world around them. I’m curious to teach this material to Swarthmore alums for whom this history is a window into their own lifetimes. We will investigate the origins of the “culture wars” surrounding race, religion, gender and sexuality, family, education, gun violence, and popular culture since the 1970s. Topics may include: the origins of the “religious right,” race and debates over affirmative action and mass incarceration, feminist and anti-feminist movements, abortion politics, sexual and queer politics, marriage and family, music and popular culture, and the history of “political correctness” and multiculturalism.

Bruce Dorsey is Professor of History at Swarthmore. He teaches courses on early American history, the American Civil War, gender and sexuality, popular culture, and the culture wars in America. He is the author of Murder in a Mill Town: Sex, Faith, and the Trial that Captivated a Nation and Reforming Men and Women: Gender in the Antebellum City, and co-editor of Crosscurrents in American Culture: A Reader in United States History. He has received book and article prizes for his scholarship, and is beginning a book project on the origins of the culture wars. Bruce lives in Swarthmore and New York City.

​WHEN:  Thursdays at 7 p.m. ET 
DATES:  March 16, 23, 30, April 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4 (eight classes)
PROGRAM NOTES:  The class will be held online using Zoom; participants will need to download Zoom to their computers to participate. A meeting link will be emailed to you several days prior to the first class. Classes are RECORDED for members. Class readings and the link to our Moodle Class will be provided to all registrants after registration.

Register Now for Divided America: The Origins of the Culture Wars
Questions? Please contact Mary Carr at 


More About Lifelong Learning 

  • Courses taught by senior or emeriti members of Swarthmore College faculty and other experts.

  • Courses offered in each of the divisions of the College: humanities, social sciences, natural sciences/engineering.

  • No grades, no academic credit, just learning for learning's sake.

  • Open to everyone: alumni, their adult family, friends, Swarthmore College staff, and all friends of the College are welcome.

  •  Virtual classes are not limited in number of participants.

Questions?  For questions about course material, contact Professor Hansjakob Werlen at For all other questions, contact Mary Carr at .

Thank you for your support of Lifelong Learning at Swarthmore.