On this week’s Past Present podcast, Nicole Hemmer, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, and Neil Young discuss the campus protests at Mizzou and Yale, Tinder and online dating, and the politics of immigration.
Protests at the University of Missouri, Yale, and other schools have erupted over issues regarding racism on college campuses today. At Mizzou, the university’s troubled history of racism has shaped the most recent events. Niki mentioned that classic works like Alan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind and Dinesh D’Souza’s Illiberal Education made the idea of “political correctness” the prevailing conservative interpretation of university politics and has shaped the current conversation regarding free speech on campus.
Dating in the Digital Age
The dating app Tinder has updated its features to allow users to add job and education information to their profiles. Dating in the internet age has occasioned all sorts of worries about how technology is changing modern romance, but Natalia pointed out there are many continuities with courtship practices across the twentieth century. Natalia noted the works of scholars like Paula Fass and Mary McComb show some of the same practices we think of as created by the internet, such as rating your date, go back to the 1920s.
Immigration has emerged as one of the biggest issues in the 2016 presidential race. Niki has recently written about how immigration has become the most important issue in the Republican race for the nomination, and she cited Mae Ngai’s history of illegal aliens, Impossible Subjects, as an important work that has shaped her thinking regarding the history of immigration in America.
What’s Making History
- Natalia recommended Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix show, Master of None, in part for how it portrays race in America today.
- Neil suggested two readings on Charles Schulz and his famous comic strip to accompany the new Peanuts movie. Neil recommended David Michaelis’ 2007 biography Schulz and Peanuts and Sarah Boxer’s recent Atlantic article, “The Exemplary Narcissism of Snoopy.”
- Niki discussed Jill Lepore’s New Yorker article on the history of polling.