Swarthmore College Department of

Peace & Conflict Studies Blog

Dancing with History: George Lakey TriCo Memoir Launch

We are thrilled to welcome our former colleague and Lang Professor, George Lakey, back to campus to help launch his latest book, a memoir, Dancing With History: A Life for Peace and Justice. Join us for this public TriCollege book talk sponsored by departments at Swarthmore, Haverford, and Bryn Mawr Colleges. A reception and book signing will follow.

Date: January 31, 2023

Author-Student Meet-and-Greet Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Lib Lab in McCabe Library at Swarthmore College

Public Lecture Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Science Center, Cunniff Hall (Room 199) at Swarthmore College (Parking in Whittier Lot in Google Maps) (Walking directions to Cunniff Hall)

Lakey Dealing with History book cover
George Lakey’s new memoir, “Dancing with History: A Life for Peace and Justice.”

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George Lakey is a scholar, writer, activist, trainer, and formerly a Lang Professor in Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College, where he founded the Global Nonviolent Action Database. He has taught or trained at all three Trico colleges (Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore). Since the age of 19, he has been a tireless leader in peace, justice, and civil rights movements, studying and engaging in nonviolent campaigns for social change. A prominent Quaker, Lakey founded Training for Change here in Philadelphia, and his work can be traced across the anti-Vietnam War movement, gay liberation, Movement for a New Society, Men Against Patriarchy, Jobs with Peace (a labor coalition), climate justice movements, and more.

A prolific author throughout his career, his book include Toward a Living Revolution; How We Win; and Viking Economics. Copies of Dancing with History are available in the Campus Bookstore and can be purchased at the event.

Whet your appetite for this event by watching a trailer from a film about George’s life that is in development as well as the endorsements below.


George Lakey is a national treasure, whom I met when I was 22.  Dancing with George was a blast. His unstoppable, thoughtful, contagious approach to democratic action has inspired my life’s work.

Frances Moore Lappé, Director, Small Planet Institute.

In his memoir, George Lakey recollects his past and current experiences, layer by layer, narrating a life of building peace and justice through one’s actions.


George Lakey’s memoir is an important book, for Friends and for the wide radius of activist groups his life of witness has influenced. It is a testament to the adage that the personal is political, and the political is personal. One can hear eighty years of American culture pulsating through his body and spirit – not simply as unreflected zeitgeist, but as spiritually discerned and focused by a resilient concern for actionable analysis and strategy for a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world.

Doug Gwyn, author of A Sustainable Life: Quaker Faith & Practice in the Renewal of Creation.

Prof. George Lakey supporting students during a month-long sit-in for fossil fuel divestment at Swarthmore College in 2015.

Co-sponsors: Peace & Conflict Studies (Swarthmore); The Peace Collection and Friends Historical Library (Swarthmore); Swarthmore Friends Meeting; Peace, Justice, & Human Rights (Haverford); Peace, Conflict, & Social Justice Studies (Bryn Mawr); Sociology and Anthropology Department (Swarthmore); The Lang Center; Gender & Sexuality Studies