On this week’s episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki debate the changing role of the vice presidency, the history of beach-going, and the Russian doping scandal overshadowing the Rio Olympics.

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

  • It’s the summer and everyone is headed to the beach. But for most of history, people stayed away from the seashore. Neil explained European elites began going to the beach in the eighteenth century during the industrial revolution in order to get “fresh air” and an invigorating plunge in the waters. Natalia recommended Andrew Kahrl’s history of African-American beaches, The Land Was Ours, for understanding the history of racial segregation at the beach, and Jeff Wiltse’s book,Contested Waters, that examines the politics of the swimming pool. Natalia also pointed to Stephen Carter’s novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park, for a depiction of how elite African-Americans found escape in the resort community on Martha’s Vineyard, Oaks Bluff. Neil noted gay and lesbian Americans had also escaped to their own beach communities like Provincetown and Fire Island.

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

  • Niki talked about the history of optimism and politics.