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Swarthmore Discussion Group

Department Overview

A Special Message from the Board of the Swarthmore Discussion Group

The Swarthmore Discussion Group board considers the health of its members to be its highest priority. After evaluating the current conditions, we decided that our Fall 2022 Series — September, October, November, December —  will be held in-person as we did prior to COVID.  We are excited that we can gather together again at The Inn, and we hope you'll join us for a memorable in-person experience.

Learn more about Swarthmore College's response to COVID-19.


The Swarthmore Discussion Group (SDG) offers members the opportunity to hear knowledgeable speakers and engage in lively conversation with local community members as well as Swarthmore College staff, faculty, and alumni.

Our speakers are distinguished scholars, community leaders, and experts in their field. Following their presentations on topics including politics, foreign affairs, economics, cultural, and social issues they welcome the questions, discussion, and debate engaged in by members.

Please  join our Fall 2022 Series of four monthly presentations on Wednesday evenings. We will meet in-person at The Inn at Swarthmore. The membership fee includes a catered dinner to accompany each inspiring lecture. No refunds are available.

Fall 2022 Swarthmore Discussion Group Series

Sept. 21  "Everything You've Learned About Grammar Could Be Wrong(-ish)"

 "Everything You Learned About Grammar Could Be Wrong(-ish)"

Nicole Holliday, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania​​​​​​

Advice from the "Grammar Police" abounds in everyday discussions about the nature of language and language use. But where do these rules and prescriptions come from, and what IS grammar anyway? Dr. Nicole Holliday will discuss her research on language variation and use and linguistic profiling in the U.S., drawing on examples from public discourses about how language "should" work in society. 

Oct. 19  “From Prodigy to Professional - A Life in Music”

“From Prodigy to Professional - A Life in Music”

David Kim, Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster

Please join us on a journey with Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim as he describes his experiences and struggles to reach the pinnacle of his career. Interspersed with live performances of some of David's favorite works, this is a humorous, sometimes jarring, and often poignant story not to be missed.

Nov. 16  “Black in White Space: The Enduring Impact of Color in Everyday Life”

“Black in White Space: The Enduring Impact of Color in Everyday Life”

Elijah Anderson, Sterling Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, Yale University

Since the end of the Civil Rights movement, Black people have made their way into settings previously occupied only by whites, however, overwhelmingly white spaces still remain. Blacks often consider such "white space" to be informally "off limits."  Meanwhile, despite the growth of the black middle class, many whites assume that the natural Black space is that destitute and fearsome locality - the iconic ghetto. White people typically avoid Black space, but Black people must navigate white space as a condition of their existence.

Dec. 7  “Counter Forensics and the New Sherlock Holmes”

“Counter Forensics and the New Sherlock Holmes ”

Alejandra Azuero-Quijano, SJD, PhD. Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Swarthmore College

Since the 19th century, our fascination with criminal detection has intensified. But what are some of the emergent trends in forensics, the term commonly associated with criminal evidence? Is Sherlock Holmes still the ideal of the criminal detective hunting for clues at the crime scene? In this talk, Dr. Azeuro-Quijano will discuss some recent - and often counterintuitive - trends in forensic knowledge and describe the rise of "counter forensics."  

When and Where

SDG's Fall 2022 Series convenes on the second or third Wednesday of each month from September through December. We are delighted to return to our in-person format, and will gather together at The Inn at Swarthmore. We will evaluate pandemic conditions in early November, and then decide if we will hold our Spring 2023 Series in-person, or remotely using Zoom. Please make sure that you use your current email address when registering, as that is the email address we will use to contact you.

Time (ET)

5–6 p.m. Happy Hour at The Inn at Swarthmore, Broad Table Tavern
6-7 p.m  Dinner in the Gathering Room at The Inn at Swarthmore
7–8:15 p.m. Presentation and Q & A

Location, Cost, and Registration

The Fall 2022 Series will be held in person, and includes a catered dinner. Registration opens May 1, 2022. The fee for the series of four presentations with dinner is $190 per person. Payment is due by Sept. 10.  Maximum 100 participants. Registration closes Sept. 10, 2022.  Space may be available after Sept. 10 for individual talks ($55 each). Registration for the Spring 2023 Series opens in late fall. To register for the Fall 2022 Series click on "Membership and Registration" in the sidebar at left, or by selecting "Membership and Registration" from the menu.


Contact We thank you for your support of the Swarthmore Discussion Group.