Democracy By Who? For Whom?

None at BAM Fisher

Thu, Apr 19 at 7:30 p.m.   |   90 minutes

The truth is, our founding fathers intended for many people to be left out of the social contract.

* This Olio is sold out but you can still grab a seat in our final session of the 4-part series with BAM. *

Cleisthenes, the father of Athenian Democracy, enacted reforms—known as isonomia, or “equality through law”—which dramatically decreased nepotism and increased governmental representation of the Athenian people. We like to believe that our country’s brand of democracy has always followed ancient Greek ideals, but George Washington believed that only the “lower class of people” should serve as foot soldiers in the Continental Army. Thomas Jefferson envisioned his public schools educating talented students “raked from the rubbish” of the lower class. And John Adams believed the “passion for distinction” was a powerful human force: “There must be one, indeed, who is the last and lowest of the human species.” The truth is, our founding fathers intended for many people to be left out of the social contract.

In this seminar, participants examine the history of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in this country. From the discovery of the New World to the Trail of Tears, from the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II to Black Lives Matter, we look at moments when American democracy failed on its promise of inalienable rights to a significant percentage of its population.

The Great Experiment: Questioning Democracy presented by BAM & Think Olio is open to all curious people, regardless of educational background. The format of each seminar comprises three 15-minute lectures, followed by discussion and text analysis with a professor.

Teacher: Makeba Lavan
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.

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


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Progressives, Radicals & Well-Meaning Liberals

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Plato Goes East: The Republic and The Bhagavad Gita

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June 14, 2020, noon

Socialism, A Day in the Life

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June 15, 2020, 8 p.m.

Government Action and Inaction in Response to Covid-19

Location: at Online

Teacher: Andres Bernal

June 19, 2020, 8 p.m.


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Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.