Barely Gettin' By

Barely Gettin' By


Historians, millennials, and friends Dr Emma Shortis and Dr Chloe Ward spend a lot of time getting angry at the way public discussion about history and politics is dominated by the same voices. So they started a podcast.

With the support of RMIT, Emma and Chloe host the Barely Gettin’ By podcast. They talk about a history of the present, for all the big issues of our time: climate change, Trump’s America, intergenerational warfare, white lady feminism, and what it means to live, in the words of Dolly Parton, in a world where ‘it’s all takin’ and no givin’’. 

Announcing season three

In the year 2020 where everything seems to have gone wrong, your often confused, occasionally insightful and (sometimes) optimistic hosts Emma and Chloe are once again making sense of the present by looking at the past. 

In season three our historical experts go back four years, to when the world turned on its head when Donald Trump won the US Presidential election and set the stage for the now tumultuous present the United States finds itself in. 

This season, Shortis and Ward are using history to navigate and make sense of what is undoubtedly a turning point in the United States’ future. Across eight episodes they’ll break down key moments in the 2020 campaign, campaigns past, and the inner workings of American democracy.

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, learn how the origins of the system can be traced to America’s oldest and most maligned tradition of all – slavery. 

Barely Getting' By Season 3 launches Thursday 24 September – and this time around, Emma and Chloe are adding something new: a weekly newsletter covering the history behind the major events of this election cycle, plus some recommended readings to guide you through the overwhelming onslaught. 

Read the newsletter

Meet the presenters

Dr Emma Shortis is an historian who focuses on US and environmental politics. She’s an in-demand media expert who uses history to try to interpret and explain what on earth is happening in the United States today. She’s a regular guest on ABC News radio and television, and programs like Triple RRR’s Common Sense. Emma joined RMIT University in June 2018. In the year before that, she was a Fox-Zucker International Fellow at Yale University. She holds a PhD in History from the University of Melbourne. She’s a mad Collingwood supporter, an expert Twitter stalker, and spends a lot of time being outraged at the state of things.

Dr Chloe Ward is an historian whose research focuses on the relationship between culture and politics in the 20th century. She has won awards for her research, and is an experienced editor with extensive media training. Before commencing as a Research Fellow at RMIT University she worked in the education industry. She holds a PhD in History from the University of Melbourne, and bitter memories of the 2017 AFL Grand Final. She is a reformed Twitter addict, very bad Instagrammer, and blames her perpetual state of rage on global capitalism and her star sign (Aries).

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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer