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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: October, 2023
Oct 31, 2023

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

Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast

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

 

·      Restaurant reservations, like so much else, are getting gamified. Neil referred to this New York Times article. We all drew on this overview of historian Paul Freedman’s book and this Atlantic article.

 

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

·      Natalia shared about Britney Spears’ new memoir, The Woman in Me.

·      Neil recommended historian Daniel Immerwahr’s New Yorker article, “Beyond the Myth of Rural America” and Steven Conn’s book The Lies of the Land: Seeing Rural America for What It Is – And Isn’t.

·      Niki discussed Elizabeth Williamson’s New York Times article, “Judge Won’t Let Alex Jones Use Bankruptcy to Avoid Sandy Hook Damages.”

Oct 24, 2023

In this episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss the history of musical megatours and the concert movies they inspired.

Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast

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

 

·      Beyoncé and Taylor Swift made concert history this summer, and are now offering feature film versions of their concerts for the masses. Niki referenced this CNN article, and Natalia cited Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s New York Times Magazine analysis of Swiftiedom.

 

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

·      Natalia shared about her upcoming events in the Center for Jewish History’s “Archives to Earbuds” series.

·      Neil recommended the podcast series, Keys to the Kingdom.

·      Niki discussed the new film, One Life.

Oct 17, 2023

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

Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast

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

 

·      Historic preservation is almost as old as U.S. history. Natalia drew on this Discourse magazine article, and Niki discussed this New Yorker essay. Neil referenced this New York Times opinion essay.

 

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

·      Natalia discussed Matthew Schmitz’ Compact article, “Millennial Socialists Embrace Atrocities.

·      Neil shared Paige Williams’ New Yorker essay, “Among the Cabin Fanatics of Mississippi’s Giant Houseparty.”

·      Niki recommended Matthew Dallek’s new book, Birchers: How the John Birch Society Radicalized the American Right.

Oct 10, 2023

In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss the rise – and fall? – of the TED Talk.

Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast

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

 

·      The writer Coleman Hughes gave a TED Talk on race earlier this year, and caused a stir when he advocated for “colorblindness” – and then accused TED of depressing the online circulation of his talk. Natalia cited this essay at The Drift, as well as this Atlantic article. Niki and Neil both drew on this Huffington Post history of TED, while Niki also referenced this New York Times profile of Chris Anderson, the head of TED. Neil commented on this New York Times article likening TED Talks to a religious event.

 

 

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

·      Natalia invited scholars and writers to submit pitches for the series on physical culture that she is guest-editing for Nursing Clio.

·      Neil shared about John Riley’s Metro Weekly article, “California Republicans Reject Platform Change on Gay Marriage.”

·      Niki recommended the new special issue of the Journal of African American History, on the “Black 1980s.”

Oct 3, 2023

In this episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss the history of political dress codes. 

Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast

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

 

·      In the wake of a debate over Senator John Fetterman’s casual style, the Senate voted to set a more formal dress code. Neil drew on this Gentleman’s Gazette article, and Natalia referenced Rhonda Garelick’s New York Times essay. Niki cited this POLITICO piece and this Washingtonian article.

 

 

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

·      Natalia recommended Jessica Bennett’s New York Times package, “Being 13.”

·      Neil shared about the Deseret News poll, “Republicans See Trump as a ‘Person of Faith’… More So Than Mitt Romney, Mike Pence, and Others

·      Niki discussed the 1921 New York Times article, “Is the New Woman A Traitor to Her Race?

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