The History of the End of the World

Friday January 12: 7:00PM 8:00PM

This will feature multiple professors giving 30-minute, interdisciplinary talks on topics that may or may not relate.

The 19th Century 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 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.

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The 20th Century 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.

Complimentary beer and wine by our presenting sponsors, Sixpoint Brewery & Maison Cubi.

Admission Options: Buy a ticket through ThinkOlio's website HERE to attend this event. Please note that payment is required for all online event orders at the time of checkout. The event will be located in the Strand's 3rd floor Rare Book Room at our store at 828 Broadway at 12th Street.