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


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 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!