Past Present Podcast: Intersectionality, Beauty & the Beast, and Defunding the NEH & NEA

Beauty and the Beast

In this week’s episode of Past Present, Neil, Natalia, and Niki debate whether intersectionality is a religion, the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, and Trump’s plan to defund the NEA and NEH.


In a recent piece for New York Magazine, Andrew Sullivan called intersectionality a “religion.” Sullivan’s essay was inspired by student protests at Middlebury College when Charles Murray, author of The Bell Curve, came to speak. Natalia explained how the legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw had developed the theory of intersectionality in the late 1980s as a way to understand how African-American women experienced legal discrimination. Niki pointed out that Frances Beal’s classic essay, “Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female,” had developed many of these ideas as early as 1969. Natalia noted conservative Alan Dershowitz’s critiques of intersectionality that linked disparate leftist causes such as Black Lives Matter and Palestinian liberation. Niki outlined Sullivan’s relationship with Murray, including his editing the New Republic’s symposium on The Bell Curve in 1994. Natalia recommended Prof. Kevin Gannon’s recent blogpost that outlined the Sullivan-Murray connection. Natalia also recommended Jonathan Zimmerman’s new book, Campus Politics, for a history of free speech debates on college campuses.

Beauty & the Beast

Disney’s new live-action movie Beauty and the Beast is breaking box office records. Neil noted the film had already received glowing critical responses, and Natalia commented even a writer for Jezebel had praised the film.

Defunding the NEH & NEA

What’s Making History

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