Margaret Atwood and the Rise of the American ‘Alt-Right’: The Prophetic Punch of the Handmaid's Tale

None at Berg'n

Wed, Sep 6 at 7:30 p.m.   |   90 minutes

Margaret Atwood's vision of Gilead and its origins provide stark, relevant warnings for the direction of U.S. society that are more a call for collective action than predictive lament.


The horrific events in Charlottesville on August 12 provided a sinister snapshot of the transition of the “Alt-Right,” from fringe, hate-spewing online trolls to a critical mass of torch-bearing white men sporting Swastikas and automatic weapons. This assortment of homegrown neo-Nazis, white supremacists and new generation Klu Klux Klansmen are the foot soldiers of rabidly intolerant ideological groups increasingly empowered by dog-whistle affirmation from President Donald J. Trump.

That toxic ideology – and the government’s deference to it – was the seedbed of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian “speculative fiction” classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood conjured a future in which elements recognizable in “alt-right” ideology fueled a violent takeover of the United States of America and its remaking into a totalitarian theocracy called the Republic of Gilead. She channeled the gender dynamics and the collective fears of North American women of the 1980s into a chilling conception of a near-future that seems spookily less-speculative since Charlottesville and its aftermath. Her vision of Gilead and its origins provide stark, relevant warnings for the direction of U.S. society that are more a call for collective action than predictive lament.

Join the resistance with an evening of spirited discussion about the intersection of the predictive punch of The Handmaid’s Tale and the warnings from Charlottesville.

Teacher: Phelim Kine
Venue: Berg'n
Add to Calendar Sept. 6, 20177:30 p.m. Sept. 6, 2017 America/New_York Think Olio | Margaret Atwood and the Rise of the American ‘Alt-Right’: The Prophetic Punch of the Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood's vision of Gilead and its origins provide stark, relevant warnings for the direction of U.S. society that are more a call for collective action than predictive lament. None

What is Think Olio?


Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

Scenius Membership

If Friday night lectures, museum field trips, and living room salons sound like your kind of thing, then you've found your people. We can't wait to welcome you to the Think Olio Scenius. More info


Other Upcoming Olios


"Places, Everyone!" - The History of Broadway & The Theater District in NYC

Location: at Online

Teacher: Whitney George

Jan. 18, 2021, 8 p.m.

The Tyranny of Happy: Contemporary Over-Performance

Location: at Online

Teacher: Jeanne Proust

Jan. 21, 2021, 7:30 p.m.

Communities Fight Back: Meeting our Needs During Capitalist Crisis

Location: at Online

Teacher: Lauren Hudson

Jan. 27, 2021, 7:30 p.m.

Defund the Police?

Location: at Online

Teacher: Briana Toole

Jan. 28, 2021, 8 p.m.

Bioethics: On Living and Dying

Location: at Online

Teacher: Jeanne Proust

Feb. 9, 2021, 7:30 p.m.

Indigenous Peoples and Settler Colonialism

Location: at Online

Teacher: J. Kēhaulani Kauanui

Feb. 18, 2021, 8 p.m.

Deschooling & Decolonizing: Creating The Third University

Location: at Online

Teacher: Kashema Hutchinson

Feb. 18, 2021, 7:30 p.m.


Stay in Touch


Instagram Mailing List Contact

Get Involved


Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.