297 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
    • 4.7 • 390 Ratings

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 288: The Protests in Cuba

    Episode 288: The Protests in Cuba

    In this episode, Neil, Natalia, and Niki discuss the mass protests in Cuba.
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: 
    The streets of Cuba are filled with protestors enraged by the poor handling of the pandemic and the excesses of the police state. Natalia mentioned Cuba scholar Rebecca Bodenheimer’s Twitter account and this POLITICO piece. Niki drew on this NPR segment about the role of artists in the uprising.  
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    Natalia discussed Michael Kranish’s Washington Post article, “How Tucker Carlson Became the Voice of White Grievance.” Neil shared the podcast “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill.” Niki commented on two new books about the last year of the Trump presidency, by Michael Wolff and Michael C. Bender.

    • 36 min
    Episode 287: The Miami Condo Collapse

    Episode 287: The Miami Condo Collapse

    In this episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia discuss the tragedy of the Surfside condominium collapse and what it means for Miami.
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: 
    On June 24, a security camera captured the collapse of much of the Surfside condominium complex, killing a still untallied list of residents. Natalia cited this Slate article on the death of the Florida dream. Niki contextualized the collapse in the tradition of neoliberal deregulation, explained here.  
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    Natalia recommended Alec MacGillis’ book, Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America. Neil comment on Christianity Today’s article, “Rick Warren Mastered the Formula for Suburban Church Growth.” Niki discussed her own CNN opinion piece, “The House Takes a Revealing Vote on Confederate Statues.”

    • 47 min
    Episode 286: The Debate over Paying College Athletes

    Episode 286: The Debate over Paying College Athletes

    In this episode, Natalia, Niki, and Neil discuss the Supreme Court decision to allow education-related payments to student-athletes.
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: 
    The Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA’s restrictions on providing “education-related perks” to college athletes. Natalia referred to historian Taylor Branch’s 2011 piece in The Atlantic, “The Shame of College Sports.” Neil referred to this CNN piece on the ruling, and the relevant data point on the high salaries of college football coaches.   
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    Natalia discussed Britney Spears’ testimony about her experience under her conservatorship. We discussed the “Free Britney” movement on Episode 268. Neil recommended Zachary M. Schrag’s book, The Fires of Philadelphia: Citizen-Soldiers, Nativists, and the 1844 Riots Over the Soul of a Nation. Niki talked about Dan Boyce’s NPR segment, “A Would-Be Trans and Queer Haven In Rural Colorado Just Wants to be Left Alone.”

    • 37 min
    Episode 285: Income Taxes and the History of the IRS

    Episode 285: Income Taxes and the History of the IRS

    In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss the history of the Internal Revenue Service and why the uber-wealthy pay so little in income taxes.
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: 
    ProPublica released a searing report revealing how little the richest Americans pay in taxes – and that they do so legally. Neil referred to this San Diego Union Tribune op-ed about racial discrimination at the IRS, and Niki and Natalia to this Intelligencer interview with Dorothy Brown. We all drew on this history of IRS scandals published by The Week.  
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    Natalia discussed two of the hotels in Yellowstone National Park. Neil shared this co piece, “Skittles Commemorates Gay Pride Month with Gray Packaging, Without the Color of the Rainbow.” Niki recommended historian A.K. Sandoval-Strausz’ Washington Post essay, “As Immigration Politics Changed, So Did ‘In the Heights’.”

    • 46 min
    Episode 284: The History of LGBTQ+ Pride

    Episode 284: The History of LGBTQ+ Pride

    In this episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss the history of LGBTQ+ Pride.
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: 
    Controversy has flared over the presence of police at this year’s New York Pride March. Neil drew on this Time retrospective on the more than 50 years of Pride protests and parades.  
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    Natalia discussed Pooja Salhotra’s Chalkbeat article, “New York City Schools Integrate LGBTQ Stories in Social Studies Curriculum.” Neil recommended Laine Nooney’s VICE piece, “How the Personal Computer Broke the Human Body.” Niki shared about the New York Times feature, “’We’re Going to Publish’: An Oral History of the Pentagon Papers.”

    • 47 min
    Episode 283: Naomi Osaka, Athletes, and Mental Health

    Episode 283: Naomi Osaka, Athletes, and Mental Health

    In this episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss the controversy over tennis champion Naomi Osaka’s decision not to participate in post-match press conferences.
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: 
    Citing mental health concerns, tennis champion Naomi Osaka decided not to participate in post-match press conferences at the French Open. Natalia referred to this history at Forbes of how the press conference supplanted locker room interviews. Neil drew on this three-part series on the history of sports journalism.  
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    Natalia recommended Lyz Lenz’ Substack, “A Grown-Ass Woman." Neil discussed the new FX documentary series, Pride. Niki talked about what the “post-pandemic” period might mean.

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
390 Ratings

390 Ratings

Rinermo ,

Great!

I love this podcast. I’ve been listening to it for some time and never miss a week. I was almost relieved when they changed the format from three topics to one a week. It was A LOT. And now they go into greater depth on one important issue. My only criticism is that a couple of the podcasters use “like” too much. They could clean that up easily. Great podcast!

naomicanfly ,

Love this show!

I’ve been a regular listener for more than a year. They are smart, interesting, and relevant without being too “newsy” so it’s a nice break without being disconnected from what’s happening now. As an anthropologist, I appreciate exploring current events from a cultural and historic context.

Trinchuckle ,

Good podcast

Entertaining, informative, interesting perspectives

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