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

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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Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: 

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

Jun 9, 2020

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

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

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

 

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:

Apr 28, 2020

In this episode, Natalia, Niki, and Neil discuss protests against the current national lockdown.

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

Apr 21, 2020

In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss the prospect of large-scale voting by mail come November and the fate of the U.S. Postal Service.

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

Apr 14, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss hydroxychloroquine, the drug President Trump is pushing as a potential cure for the coronavirus.

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

 

Apr 7, 2020

In this episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss the new Netflix series, Tiger King.

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Mar 31, 2020

In this episode, Neil, Natalia, and Niki discuss the history of school closings.

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

Mar 24, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia discuss the history of “cabin fever.”

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

Mar 17, 2020

In this episode, Natalia, Niki, and Neil discuss the history of the quarantine.

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

Mar 10, 2020

In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss the bans on single-use plastic bags.

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

Mar 3, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss the history of fat activism and the body positivity movement.

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

Feb 25, 2020

In this episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss COVID-19 and the history of protective face masks.

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

 

Feb 18, 2020

In this episode, Neil, Natalia, and Niki discuss an architectural proposal to “Make Federal Buildings Beautiful Again.”

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

Feb 11, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia discuss the debacle of this year’s Iowa caucuses.

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

Feb 4, 2020

In this episode, Natalia, Niki, and Neil discuss the shrinking number of moderate Republicans in the GOP.

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  • Where have all the moderate Republicans gone? Neil wrote about Susan Collins and the end of moderate Republicans in his column for The Week. Niki shared Geoffrey Kabaservice’s book Rule and Ruin as the definitive history of moderate Republicans. Natalia discussed Ezra Klein’s recent New York Times piece on the different effect polarization has had on both parties, an argument he expands in his new book, Why We’re Polarized. Neil commented on how Republican suburban women have been moving away from the GOP during the Trump years, something he wrote about for the Atlantic in 2018.

 

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

  • Natalia discussed the controversy surrounding Jeanine Cummins’ new book, American Dirt, and recommended the episode of “Latino USA” that discusses the controversy and Myriam Gurba’s review of the book for Tropics of Meta.
  • Neil recommended the new Netflix series, “Cheer.” We discussed the history of cheerleading in Episode 125.
  • Niki commented on Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s proposal for Virginia’s border counties to join West Virginia, something being referred to as “Vexit.
Jan 28, 2020

In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss Greta Gerwig’s film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

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

Jan 21, 2020

In this episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss the longevity of the game show Jeopardy!

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

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