A Radical Prescription for Democracy

Jamie Warren at BAM Fisher

Thu, Mar 15 at 7:30 p.m.   |   90 minutes

In this Olio, participants wrestle with the relationship between democracy and freedom.

The story we tell ourselves about the history of democracy is that we evolved from a dark past where power reigned absolute to a state of checked violence and a shared understanding of the value of a human being. Despite its flaws, modern democracy is proof that we are here for a reason and share a destiny: freedom. But in order to achieve this goal of freedom, we consent to give it up, per the social contract. What does it mean to consent to be governed? Is such consent actually possible, or does it simply clear the path for state bureaucracy and violence to expand deeper into our private lives? If the purpose of history is liberation, why are we using it to justify the modern expansion of power?

In this Olio, participants wrestle with the relationship between democracy and freedom. We begin with Foucault’s assertion—that the shift from monarchy to democracy doesn’t just signal the diminishment of power, but rather the disappearance of power—and go on to analyze his most celebrated and provocative lectures from the series “Society Must Be Defended,” in which he argues that our goal is to make power visible, to make “windows where there were once walls.” The session will also examines Foucault’s suggestion that we build a democracy to secure our most basic pleasures.

*Tickets to all BAM x Think Olio events are sold here*


Teacher: Jamie Warren

Jamie Warren has a Ph.D. in American History from Indiana University, and she is an Assistant Professor at BMCC-CUNY where she teaches American history, the history of women and gender, and women’s studies. Her research focuses on slavery in antebellum South with a particular focus on death, the body, and the philosophy of history.


Venue: BAM Fisher

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.

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Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.