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


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

Jan 31

The Dangerous Pleasure of Art

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

Feb 1

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 6

Olio Seminar | Space, Time, & Work: Understanding Labor

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

Sign Up - $75

Feb 8

Rethinking Refugee Trauma and Mental Health

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

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

Feb 21

Living Room Salon | Music and Environmentalism

Taught by Kristy Barbacane
7 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Feb 25

What Would Buffy Do? Radical Feminism and the Slayer

Taught by Jamie Warren
7:30 p.m. at Neuehouse Madison Sq.

Sign Up - $20

Feb 28

Into the Mystic: Music & the Moving Image

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

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!