231 episodes

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.

Past Present Niki, Neil, and Natalia

    • News

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.

    Episode 222: School Closings

    Episode 222: School Closings

    In this episode, Neil, Natalia, and Niki discuss the history of school closings.
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: 
    Schools all over the United States are closing for weeks, perhaps months, in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Natalia referenced this New York Times article about the particular challenges faced by homeless students. Niki referred to this history of school closures in response to desegregation orders, and Natalia discussed the limits of comparisons to homeschooling.  
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    Natalia recommended the podcast “Dying for Sex.” Neil discussed the legacy of the late playwright, Terrence McNally. Niki shared these investigative tweets by writer Sage Boggs – and historian Charles Richter’s response – about the origin of the brand name “Triscuit.”

    • 34 min
    Episode 221: Cabin Fever

    Episode 221: Cabin Fever

    In this episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia discuss the history of “cabin fever.”
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: 
    As social distancing becomes the new norm for many Americans, so too does the stress and anxiety of being cooped up, also known as “cabin fever.” Natalia mentioned Jonathan Zimmerman’s Chronicle of Higher Education article about online learning. Neil referred to historian Jeanne Boydston’s classic book, Home and Work: Household, Wages, and the Ideology of Labor. Niki discussed Daniel Pollack-Pelzner’s Atlantic article, “Shakespeare Wrote His Best Works During a Plague.”  
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    Natalia discussed Robert Snow’s new book Disney’s Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Park that Changed the World. Neil commented on Sapna Maheshwari’s New York Times article, “American Teenagers Are Declaring ‘Virginity Rocks’.” Niki shared the Canadian Broadcasting Service’s podcast, “Uncover: Satanic Panic.”

    • 33 min
    Episode 220: Quarantines

    Episode 220: Quarantines

    In this episode, Natalia, Niki, and Neil discuss the history of the quarantine.
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: 
    As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, quarantining is becoming a fact of life. Natalia referred to Anne Helen Petersen’s essay on selflessness and social isolation and recommended historian Howard Markel’s New York Times opinion piece.  
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    Natalia discussed the Netflix show Love is Blind. Neil recommended Nancy Hass’ New York Times Magazine article, “How Floral Arrangements Began to Take Over the Table – and the Entire Room.” Niki shared Livia Gershon’s JSTOR Daily article, “How Toothpaste Got Scientific Cred.”

    • 36 min
    Episode 219: Plastic Bag Bans

    Episode 219: Plastic Bag Bans

    In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss the bans on single-use plastic bags.
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: 
    On March 1, a plastic bag ban went into effect in New York City. Neil referred to this Washington Post article about such bans around the world and Niki recommended this Atlantic piece on the rise of the plastic bag’s popularity. Natalia cited this Washington Post column by Alexandra Petri.  
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    Natalia recommended Martha Verbrugge and Drew Yingling’s article, “The Politics of Play: The Struggle Over Racial Segregation and Public Recreation in Washington, D.C., 1945-1950,” in Washington History. Neil discussed Choe Sang-Hun’s New York Times article, “He Blames ‘Evil’ for South Korea’s Coronavirus Surge. Officials Blame Him.” Niki shared Jason Lamberg’s Comdesres article, “The Origin of the Oxford Comma.”

    • 31 min
    Episode 218: Fat Activism

    Episode 218: Fat Activism

    In this episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss the history of fat activism and the body positivity movement.
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: 
    In recent years, “body positivity” has become a buzzword. Natalia cited The Fat Studies Reader and this Campus Reform article about more extreme forms of fat liberation. Niki referred to this Bitch Media article about the connections between fat and queer liberation. We previously discussed plus-size models on Episode 98.  
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    Natalia recommended Alexis Coe’s new biography of George Washington, You Never Forget Your First. Neil discussed Corey Kilgannon’s New York Times article, “The Truth About Alligators in the Sewers of New York.” Niki shared Crystal R. Sanders’ Washington Post article, “Katherine Johnson Should Also Be Remembered for Desegregating Higher Education.”

    • 36 min
    Episode 217: COVID-19 and Protective Face Masks

    Episode 217: COVID-19 and Protective Face Masks

    In this episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss COVID-19 and the history of protective face masks.
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: 
    The threat of coronavirus has lately made protective face masks a fixture in many global cities. Natalia cited this Vox article about the hoarding of such masks. Neil referred to this Quartz piece about the broader use of face masks in Asian countries.  
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    Natalia recommended Mac Schwerin’s Vox article, “The Pungent Legacy of Axe Body Spray.” Neil discussed Davey Alba’s New York Times article, “Facial Recognition Moves Into a New Front: Schools.” Niki shared the “Whomst Among Us Let the Dogs Out?” episode from the podcast 99% Invisible.  

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

danrebellato ,

A longer view

This is a really good podcast; three history academics talking about contemporary cultural and political issues but bringing their historical perspectives to give a broader context in which to understand what is happening to the world.

ariparicampari ,

My favorite podcast!

Every episode is fascinating, entertaining, and well researched! My favorite podcast!

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