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Past Present

Past Present brings together three historians to discuss what's happening in American politics and culture today. Natalia, Neil, and Niki bring historical insights to the news of the day, offering listeners an alternative to the reflexive and polarized world of punditry. Interested in the world around you but exhausted by rote reactions and partisan talking points? You've come to the right place.
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Now displaying: Page 1
Oct 20, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia discuss the debate over “court packing.”

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In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

Oct 13, 2020

In this episode, Natalia, Niki, and Neil discuss how the White House became a coronavirus hot spot.

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Oct 6, 2020

In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss the far-right, neo-fascist group, the Proud Boys.

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  • At last week’s presidential debate, President Trump drew attention to the all-male street gang, the Proud Boys, when he told them to “stand back and stand by.” Niki commented on the group’s founder, Gavin McInnes. Natalia discussed how the example of the early 20th century psychologist Stanley Hall provided a sort of erudite analogue to the Proud Boys. Neil mentioned Niki’s 2016 piece for Vox on the media’s interest in the alt-right’s aesthetics as a way to think about the Proud Boys’ Fred Perry uniform.

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

Sep 29, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss the life and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

Sep 22, 2020

In this episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss the controversial new Netflix film, Cuties.

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Sep 15, 2020

In this episode, Neil, Natalia, and Niki discuss the racial dissembling of historian Jessica Krug.

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In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

Sep 8, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia discuss new charges of sexual assault against porn actor Ron Jeremy.

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Sep 1, 2020

In this episode, Natalia, Niki, and Neil discuss the new HBO series, Lovecraft Country.

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Aug 25, 2020

In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

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In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

Aug 18, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate.

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In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

Aug 11, 2020

In this episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss the conspiracy theory known as QAnon.

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In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

Aug 4, 2020

In this episode, Neil, Natalia, and Niki discuss the continued unrest in Portland and the deployment of federal forces to quell it.

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Jul 28, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia discuss the decision by the Planned Parenthood Federation of New York to disavow Margaret Sanger for her ties to eugenics.

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Jul 21, 2020

In this episode, Natalia, Niki, and Neil discuss the “Karen” meme.

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Jul 14, 2020

In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss student visas and the most recent immigration restrictions put forth by the Trump administration.

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Jul 7, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss the deplatforming of extremists by social media sites from Reddit to YouTube.

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Jun 30, 2020

In this episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss the movement to defund the police.

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In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

Jun 23, 2020

In this episode, Neil, Natalia, and Niki discuss Bostock v. Clayton County, the recent Supreme Court decision protecting gay and transgender people from workplace discrimination.

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  • In an unexpected victory for LGBTQ activists, the Supreme Court decided last week that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay and transgender people from discrimination at work. Natalia and Niki referred to this helpful Slate piece on the legal theories of textualism and originalism, and to Rebecca Onion’s explanation of the legend behind the “because of sex” clause in the Civil Rights Act. Neil referenced our own conversation on Episode 22 about Justice Antonin Scalia’s judicial legacy.

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

Jun 16, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia discuss the life and legacy of playwright and AIDS activist Larry Kramer.

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Jun 9, 2020

In this episode, Natalia, Niki, and Neil discuss the recent protests over police brutality.

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Jun 2, 2020

In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss the history of nursing homes in the moment of coronavirus.

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May 26, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss President Trump’s recent firings of four Inspectors General.

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May 19, 2020

In this episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss the life and legacy of Little Richard.

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In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

May 12, 2020

In this episode, Neil, Natalia, and Niki discuss the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

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In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

May 5, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia discuss meatpacking plants and the Defense Production Act.

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In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

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