Details

Biography
Topics
Art & Politics
Education
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer
Performance
Poetry/Spoken Word
Programs for High School Students
Racism/Racial Justice
Resiliency/Healing
White Privilege
Women & Feminism
Youth/Student Activism

Alix Olson PhD is a scholar and Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory University’s Oxford College. Her interests include contemporary social and political thought, critical theory, feminist and queer politics, and social movements.

Dr. Olson’s book manuscript, The Promise(s) of Resilience: Governance and Resistance in Complex Times, offers a critical examination of the rise and circulation of the concept of “resilience” within 21st Century political life and the ways it is fundamentally re-ordering peoples’ understanding of themselves, the world, and possibilities of action.

Grounding her analysis in a wide breadth of empirical case studies — from the United Nation’s refugee policies and post-Katrina “regeneration” programs to self-help literature and social movements — she shows how resilience discourses work to produce a sustainable human infrastructure capable of upholding the crisis conditions of late capitalism.

Dr. Olson has published peer-reviewed articles/chapters in The Journal for a New Political Science, Wagadu: Journal of Transnational Women’s and Gender Studies and in Agitation with a Smile: Howard Zinn’s Legacies and the Future of Activism (Paradigm 2013). She has received the “Christian Bay Award” for the paper presented at APSA that “best exemplifies the goal of New Political Science: making the study of politics relevant to the struggle for a better world.”  She received the Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Olson is currently serving as program chair for the New Political Science division at the APSA 2018 annual meeting. Dr. Olson and her work have also been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time Out, The Advocate, and OUT Magazine.

Prior to Olson’s academic life, she toured internationally for over a decade as a spoken word artist, regularly appearing in media outlets like HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, Air America (with Rachel Maddow), NPR, and WXPN. Olson has published widely within popular media including in Ms. and Curve Magazines, co-authoring Burning Down The House (Soft Skull Press, 2002), and editing the first U.S. all-women’s spoken word anthology Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution (Seal Press, 2007) which bell hooks calls an anthology “to resurrect you.”  She has produced three spoken word albums and poetry books and the award-winning documentary film Left Lane: On The Road With Alix Olson. Dr. Olson has lectured and taught social justice, art and politics, and writing workshops and performed spoken word poetry at over 300 colleges and universities and at political conferences, high schools, prisons across the United States and internationally.

Testimonials

"An ingenious poet, a brilliant performer, a funny person, a serious thinker. Quite simply, extraordinary."

— Howard Zinn, activist and author of A People's History of the United States

 

"Olson is an electrifying performer, who seduces her audiences with wit and energy."

— The Progressive

 

"Alix Olson is a red-hot, feminismo-spewin' volcano. Plus she rhymes. Listen to her now!"
— Alison Bechdel, cartoonist, Fun Home, Dykes to Watch Out For

 

"She's outrageous. As well as funny, warm spirited, zany, vocal, curious, a personality with so much energy bubbling over, infecting everyone around. She's full of charisma, she is real and she's full of life; she's Alix Olson."

— Johnson State College newspaper

 

"…Alix Olson brought excitement, vitality and passion to her performance at Northampton Community College…Without manuscripts or notes, Olson sent forth a meteor shower of words, word play, images, and sounds - every syllable perfectly articulated. She accompanied her language-rich verse with constant motion - her arms outstretched, her legs bending and unbending at the knee, her hands waving...Her enthusiastic audience asked her many thought-provoking questions, and she answered them thoughtfully."

— Myra Saturen, Northampton Community College, Bethlehem PA

 

 "One of America's most articulate and politically active lesbian and women's rights activists..."

— Dayton City Paper, Dayton, OH

 

“The 'road-poet-on-a-mission' rev(s) up our motors and bring us to our feet. Alix Olson empowers her audiences with her quick wit and her powerful voice that carries her message of peace and politics”

— Beth Maples-Bays, Out and About, Chattanooga, TN

 

“She tangles ropes around your consciousness... Her tones fell with a pulse that jolts inspiration and life into the dullness and sadness of a world where ‘isms reign...Alix’s words are the art of change, justice, fairness, and love.”

La Salle Collegian

 

“An advocate for grassroots truth.”
— Utne Magazine

 

“Onstage, Alix Olson works the mike like a weapon, launching scathing epithets against injustice, ignorance, and intolerance...Her voice rises fast and furious and then falls to a whisper, keeping the audience engaged even with silence. Sprinkled with emphatic obscenities, her poetry inspires audiences and challenges them to think, leaving many dizzy and breathless.”

— Minnesota Women’s Press

 

"Carrying the torch of relentless progress into the wilderness of human prejudice, Alix Olson's spoken-word poetry is nothing short of an artistic and social revelation. Her illusion shattering, poetic hammer: impassioned delivery, potent ideas, and undeniable logic, command attention and praise."

— Desiree Nall, The Creative Advocate

 

“A slam poetry luminary!”

Syracuse New Times

 

“Full of fire and amazing grace.”

— The Advocate

 

"This critically acclaimed poet will challenge everything you thought you knew. It's a little like taking the red pill in the Matrix.”

The Source, Bend, Oregon

 

“Alix Olson is the living embodiment of a wake-up call for this generation... powerful, poignant, fearless, and unflinching in its outspokenness, a much needed dose of medicine for the soul.”

— Pamela Means, Singer/songwriter

 


 


 


 


 


 

Speeches

Alix typically performs a 60 - 75 minute set of spoken word poetry. Interspersed with funny tales and political quips "she can go from raging to adorable in the space of a couple hours" (Anchorage Press). Q & A following the performance is optional.

Media