The History of the End of the World

Conor Walton

We're back at the Strand for The End of the World!

Come join Jamie Warren and Lawrence Cappello for an Olio about the end of the world. We will examine the social and political forces that have historically produced such apocalyptic fantasies and the radical prescriptions for building a perfect society.


The 19th Century - Radical Utopias

Taught by Jamie Warren

It’s the end of the world. Capitalism has triumphed over the social fabric, ripping us apart and isolating us from each other. Technological innovation has usurped moral development, leaving labor behind in a state of anxiety. The status of women, our typical benchmark of social stability, is uncertain and troubling. As the gap between the rich and the poor grows, so too grows the divide between the genders. And racial oppression and the violence of white supremacy have never been greater. It’s the end of the world. Except, it’s the 1830s. The Civil War has not yet happened. The atomic bomb and Donald Trump are nightmares more than a century in the waiting.

In the early-mid nineteenth century, something profound happened across the American landscape. Men and women, convinced that the end of the world was close at hand, left their families, their property, and their way of life behind, and joined one of the many diverse, radical utopias that emerged in droves. Between 1830 and 1860, hundreds of utopian communities appeared, each with a unique vision of a perfect society. Some banned sex outright, others demanded the abolishment of monogamy in favor of free love. All challenged the notion of private property in one way or another, striking at the heart of capitalism. And importantly, regardless of their differences, and in spite of their doomsday beliefs, each utopian society reflected an overwhelming optimism about our power to shape our world. The end may be near, they believed, but we will not stand idly by and watch. Instead, we will outstep the apocalypse, by abandoning this world before it abandons us.


The 20th Century - Atomic Fever

Taught by Lawrence Cappello

The Bomb! For most of the twentieth century, when Americans pictured the end of the world odds are they were imagining nuclear holocaust. The threat of imminent nuclear attack throughout the Cold War had a tremendous impact on our culture. Sometimes horrifying, and, looking back at it, oftentimes comical. This brief Olio will touch on the atomic fever of the 1950s and 1960s. Topics will including bomb shelters, duck-and-cover, ICBMs, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.




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


Mar 27

Urban Development: From Reconstruction to Gentrification

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $15

Mar 28

Catfishing: The Artist as Trickster in Factual Fictions

Taught by Ted Barrow
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

Mar 29

Self-Love or Narcissism?

Taught by Skye Cleary
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Mar 30

Scenius Summit 2019: Apiary Book Launch

Taught by No Professor Weekend
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $125

Apr 5

OlioMuse | Beethoven's Minor Mood

Taught by Gil Harel
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $25

Apr 7

Olio Breakfast Club | Death & Bagels on a Sunday Morning

Taught by Jeanne Proust
10:30 a.m. at North 3rd St. Market - Williamsburg

Sign Up - $25

Apr 9

Madame(s) X: Muses, Makers, & Shifting Identities

Taught by Ted Barrow
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Apr 13

OlioHouse | Music & The Feast for Senses

Taught by Whitney George
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Apr 23

The Death of Art, The Rise of the Image

Taught by Vishwa Adluri
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Apr 27

OlioHouse | Found Poetry: Composting Words

Taught by Heather O'Neill
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

May 29

Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at BAM Fisher

Sign Up - $20


Find out when we launch new classes!