The idea for the Barely Gettin' By podcast was born after hosts and historians Dr Emma Shortis and Dr Chloe Ward got “completely fed up” with discussion of the big issues being dominated by “old white blokes” and too focused on the day-to-day.
They’ll use their experience as historians to go deeper into the issues, covering everything from US politics to Brexit, climate change to capitalism, and fascism and white lady feminism, to find out what’s being missed in the conversation.
The first episode of the RMIT-produced podcast, released today, discusses Brexit and the ever-changing political landscape in the UK.
Named as a nod to the line in singer Dolly Parton’s iconic song 9 to 5, the duo wants Barely Gettin' By to be an opportunity to slow down to talk about what they know, what they don’t know, what they should know, and what they’d like to know.
Shortis, a research fellow at the EU Centre at RMIT and an in-demand media expert on US politics, said every fortnight the pair was going to sit down and talk about what on earth was happening in the world today.
“We know we don’t have all the answers – like a lot of ‘experts’, I didn’t predict Trump – but, as young historians reflecting on a world that’s changing pretty fast, we think we’ve got something to add to the conversation,” she said.
“So much of the discussion about the big issues of our time is dominated by people who are stuck in a world that no longer exists.”
Shortis, a recent Fox-Zucker International Fellow at Yale University, said that even as experts in their field the pair often felt pretty clueless about what was happening and knew they weren’t alone in that.
“So, the Barely Gettin' By podcast is about feeling lost, how we grapple with what’s happening to our world, and asking how we might navigate the future together,” she said.
Ward, an expert on the relationship between culture and politics in the 20th century who works as an online education specialist at Pearson Inc, said it wouldn’t be a podcast in 2019 without Game of Thrones and Tinder getting a mention.
“Our chats are full of bad dating stories on my side, and questions like, ‘how do you explain fascism to a three-year-old?’ on Emma’s,” she said.
“We’re constantly thinking and talking about how politics and history connect to our everyday lives. For us, this is as much about sharing the experience of living in turbulent times, as it is about sharing our expertise with the world.”
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Story: Amelia Harris