416 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 • 419 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 406: Neil J. Young's "Coming Out Republican: A History of the Gay Right"

    Episode 406: Neil J. Young's "Coming Out Republican: A History of the Gay Right"

    In this episode, Natalia, Niki, and Neil discuss – and celebrate! – Neil’s new book, Coming Out Republican: A History of the Gay Right.
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:
    ·      Coming Out Republican is now available for order. You can buy Neil’s book here.
     
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    ·      Natalia shared about the Gothamist article, “Stop the Schtup: Brooklyn Orthodox Women Join Sex Strike to Pressure Husbands Over Divorce.”
    ·      Neil commented on his forthcoming piece at The Revealer, “Reaching the Heartland: Gay Republicans’ Message to Religious Americans.”
    ·      Niki recommended Heather Radke’s book, Butts: A Backstory.

    • 59 min
    Episode 405: Controversies over Christmas “Classics”

    Episode 405: Controversies over Christmas “Classics”

    In this episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss controversies over Christmas “classics.” 
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:
     
    ·      Beloved Christmas songs and movies, like so many cultural products, have come under new scrutiny recently. Neil’s Atlantic essay about Christmas controversies informed our whole conversation. We drew on this Atlantic essay that began the backlash against the film Love Actually, and Natalia referenced this interview with its director. Niki referred to this Variety essay about “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
     
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    ·      Natalia, Neil, and Niki reflected on eight years of making the show together and announced both Niki’s departure and Past Present’s first hiatus. Thank you, Niki. And listeners, see you in the spring!

    • 40 min
    Episode 404: George Santos

    Episode 404: George Santos

    In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss the strange career of now ex-Republican Congressman George Santos. 
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:
     
    ·      George Santos’ lies are so numerous, it is difficult to keep track of them. Niki referred to this Atlantic article about how Santos got elected, and Neil and Natalia referred to this one by Adam Serwer. We all drew on this New York Times history of expelled Congress members.
     
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    ·      Natalia declared her ambition to compete in the HYROX fitness competition.
    ·      Neil recommended the Slate podcast Dear Prudence and historian Julie Golia’s book, Newspaper Confessions: A History of Advice Columns in a Pre-Internet Age.
    ·      Niki discussed Rivka Galchen’s New Yorker article, “Inside the Illegal Cactus Trade.”

    • 40 min
    Episode 403: Nikki Haley

    Episode 403: Nikki Haley

    In this episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley. 
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:
     
    ·      Nikki Haley recently secured the backing of the wealthy Koch Brothers, bringing more attention to her presidential run. Natalia referred to this multi-part POLITICO series on Haley’s career. Neil drew on this NPR piece, and Niki on this article from The Intercept.
     
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    ·      Natalia shared about her most recent MSNBC column, “How Feminists Have Failed Israeli Victims of Sexual Violence.”
    ·      Neil recommended Sopan Deb’s New York Times article, “Nom Nom Nom. What’s the Deal With Cookie Monster’s Cookies?”
    ·      Niki discussed the National Security Archive’s “Henry Kissinger: The Declassified Obituary.”
     

    • 43 min
    Episode 402: Home Ownership and the History of Mortgages

    Episode 402: Home Ownership and the History of Mortgages

    In this episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss Americans’ attachment to the thirty-year mortgage. 
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:
     
    ·      A thirty-year mortgage is an enticement to home ownership – if you can lock one in at a low interest rate. Niki cited this Washington Post article about the unfavorable market for millennial homebuyers, and Natalia referenced this New Yorker piece about the pitfalls of mortgages. We all drew on this Atlantic article about the resilience of the “ownership society” ideal. Natalia referred to this New York Times article about a landlord harassed by her tenant.
     
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    ·      Natalia shared about the paperback release of Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past and a 60% holiday discount on the audiobook of Fit Nation: The Gains and Pains of America’s Exercise Obsession.
    ·      Neil recommended visiting the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale, California.
    ·      Niki discussed the latest episode of the What Next podcast, “Moms for Liberty Tanked at the Polls. This Guy Called It.”

    • 40 min
    Episode 401: The History of Drive-Thru Dining

    Episode 401: The History of Drive-Thru Dining

    In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss the history of drive-thru dining. 
    Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast
    Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:
     
    ·      Drive-through dining is more popular than ever since the pandemic. Neil drew on this Serious Eats history, and we all referred to this photo collection.
     
    In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
    ·      Natalia recommended Eboo Patel’s essay for Inside Higher Ed, “Why Campuses Need Centers for Pluralism.”
    ·      Neil discussed Natasha Singer’s New York Times article, “This Florida District Banned Cellphones. Here’s What Happened.”
    ·      Niki shared about the latest episode of Unclear and Present Danger, on which she appears.

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
419 Ratings

419 Ratings

p_z-t ,

pzt

I have been listening to this podcast for many years now and really look forward to learning new things from each episode. each of the hosts has a different line of expertise which affords very interesting & nuanced conversation.

Suzannekmoses ,

Context is everthing

I love the way this show puts recent news in historical context

taramann ,

Super Interesting & Fun

Randomly found this pod via the NYT article about Natalia. Now I’m obsessed and binging old episodes. Love the analysis of present day issues through a historical, but very approachable, lens.

Top Podcasts In News

The Daily
The New York Times
Up First
NPR
Serial
Serial Productions & The New York Times
The Tucker Carlson Show
Tucker Carlson Network
Pod Save America
Crooked Media
The Megyn Kelly Show
SiriusXM

You Might Also Like

This Day in Esoteric Political History
Jody Avirgan & Radiotopia
The Daily
The New York Times
Fresh Air
NPR
The New Yorker Radio Hour
WNYC Studios and The New Yorker
On the Media
WNYC Studios
Post Reports
The Washington Post