Democracy By Who? For Whom?


* 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.




Location: BAM Fisher

321 Ashland Place Brooklyn, NY 11217

The BAM Fisher Hillman Studio is a large performance and event space in BAM Fisher.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month



Other upcoming Olios


Dec 28

New Year’s House Party | Remembering 1919 – A Hellish Year

Taught by Lawrence Cappello
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Dec 29

Scenius Summit 2019: No Professor New Year's Weekend

Taught by
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $100

Jan 4

Museum Visit | Strange Beauty in the Italian Renaissance

Taught by Ted Barrow
7 p.m. at The Morgan Library & Museum

Sign Up - $15

Jan 11

Somebody to Love: A Feminist Reading of Freddie Mercury

Taught by Jamie Warren
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jan 22

Living Room Salon | Our Struggle with Free Will

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Jan 24

Living Room Salon | Tough Poetry in Dark Times

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Feb 2

OlioHouse | Our Stories, Our Bodies: Rape Culture in American History

Taught by Jamie Warren
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Feb 9

OlioHouse | The Love Symposium

Taught by Skye Cleary
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Feb 15

Philosophy and Friendship

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20


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