Barely Gettin’ By season three: American Carnage

Barely Gettin’ By season three: American Carnage

Podcast hosts Dr Emma Shortis and Dr Chloe Ward are back for season three and as they continue examining the inner workings of American democracy, their eyes are trained on the US election.

Named as a nod to the line in singer Dolly Parton’s iconic song 9 to 5, season three of the popular politics and culture podcast Barely Getting’ By is back with eight new episodes.

Four years ago, Donald Trump won the United States presidential election, defying the expectations of politicians, pundits and experts alike. The rest, as they say, is history.

Recording from makeshift home studios during COVID-19, co-hosts and historians Shortis and Ward will follow the 2020 US election campaign, looking to the past to understand the tumultuous present.

They will discuss key moments in the 2020 campaign against the backdrop of campaigns past, investigating the inner workings of American democracy as the nation faces what is undoubtedly a turning point in its future.

Shortis, who is a research officer at RMIT’s EU Centre of Excellence, was a Fox-Zucker International Fellow at Yale University during her PhD and is now a regular media commentator on the history and current politics of the US.

She said with a COVID-19 death toll of more than 200,000 people, the West Coast experiencing its worst ever fire season, a catastrophic economic recession, and the rising threat of authoritarianism the US is facing one of its most significant elections ever.

“As the United States is engulfed by crises we want to go beyond the news cycle and try to understand what’s really at stake for the US and the world this November,” Shortis said.

Historians Dr Emma Shortis and Dr Chloe Ward are back for a third season of popular politics and culture podcast Barley Gettin’ By.

Episodes will follow events as they unfold, unpicking some of the biggest questions along the way.

Why does a Green New Deal need to be much more ambitious than its much-mythologised predecessor, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s?

How did Watergate shape the fourth estate’s relationship with the White House to this day, and why did America’s pundit class insist on taking the wrong lessons from the scandal?

And for those of us increasingly confused by the ins and outs of the Electoral College which has determined the fate of so many would-be presidents, how can the origins of the system be traced to America’s oldest tradition of all – slavery?

Ward, also a research officer at the EU Centre of Excellence and a historian of modern British politics and culture, said like most people she is overwhelmed by the news coming out of the US this year.

“Emma and I are trying to highlight the stories that need more attention during this election cycle and give some historical perspective to what’s going on,” Ward said.

“From looking at the role of journalists and the media in Presidential scandals like Watergate to thinking through transformative Presidencies like Franklin Roosevelt’s in the 1930s, we’ll keep looking back to make sense of where we are now.”

For those seeking further reading, season three will also be accompanied by a free weekly newsletter delving deeper into the history behind the major events of the election cycle.

Alongside their own analysis, Shortis and Ward will provide some recommended reading from a range of sources as an antidote to what they describe as the current onslaught of news and information.


Story: Grace Taylor

24 September 2020


24 September 2020


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