What Does it Mean to Be an American: Conformity, Silence, and Lies

Preserving Voices Vulnerable to Erasure

What Does It Mean to Be a 'Good' American 

Taught by Angie Beeman

In a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, Americans were asked: “What does it mean to be a true American?”  Some of the top answers given included, speaking English, being Christian, and sharing American customs and traditions.  Many of these themes are subtly tied to whiteness.  Indeed, historically, American citizenship depended on one’s ability to prove whiteness.  People of color presented interesting and thoughtful cases to the Supreme Court during the early twentieth century to show that they were, in fact, “white.”  A central feature of gaining “whiteness” is silence and erasure.  This Olio will examine how these themes are reproduced in dominant narratives, especially in the case of Asian Americans.


Fuck the Alamo and Fuck Your Stupid Wall

Taught by Jamie Warren

 Many Americans know little to nothing about the Mexican American War. We  “Remember the Alamo” by virtue of forgetting the actual cause of the conflict: the expansion of slavery. We instruct our children to celebrate Davy Crockett without teaching them that he fought on the side of slaveholders. This oversight is not simply a case of flawed history or ignorance—this intentional forgetting is an act of white supremacy rooted in the myth of Manifest Destiny. As we listen to our president refer to immigrants at the Mexican-American border as “animals,” it is imperative that we remind ourselves just how that border came into existence.




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


Jun 19

The (Un)Enlightenment and What it Means to be Modern

Taught by Lev Moscow
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Jun 20

Believing is Seeing

Taught by Briana Toole
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $15

Jun 22

OlioHouse | Breaking Bread: An Olio Salon Dinner

Taught by Brian Lewis
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Jun 23

Female Power and Desire in Shakespeare after #MeToo

Taught by Christina Katopodis
1 p.m. at Threes Brewing // Greenpoint

Sign Up - $15

Jun 25

The Artist in an Alternative World

Taught by Ward Regan
7:30 p.m. at Nowadays

Sign Up - $15

Jun 25

OlioTour | Federal Hall & African Burial Ground

Taught by Jamie Warren
6 p.m. at Federal Hall

Sign Up - $0

Jun 26

Jun 27

The Long History of Selfie Culture

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

Sign Up - $20

Jun 29

OlioHouse | Happiness & Hedonism Weekend

Taught by Skye Cleary
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Jul 7

Museum Trip | 'The 80s Show' Private Tour

Taught by Charles Riley
2 p.m. at Nassau County Museum of Art

Sign Up - $20

Jul 13

OlioHouse | Considering The Tyranny of Choice

Taught by Michael Haltenberger
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Jul 25

Frida's Fragrance: Art, Scent, & Persona

Taught by Jessica Murphy
7:30 p.m. at The William Vale Hotel

Sign Up - $20

Sep 19

OlioTrip | Cienfuegos, Cuba

Taught by Teresita Levy
10 a.m. at Cienfuegos, Cuba

Sign Up - $


Find out when we launch new classes!