Past Punditry

Politics. Media. History.




Past Punditry is the website of Nicole Hemmer. As a political historian and writer, Hemmer is dedicated to bringing a historical perspective to today’s most important political debates. She aims to move past the worst sort of punditry: punditry that is reflexive rather than reflective, that chases the ephemeral rather than the essential.

In making history accessible to the public, Hemmer fills a number of roles. Currently she is: 

  • Assistant Professor in Presidential Studies at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, where she works in the Presidential Recordings Program.
  • Co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Made by History at the Washington Post, where she edits daily commentary and analysis from the nation's leading political historians.
  • Co-host and producer of Past Present, a podcast where three historians discuss the latest news in American politics and culture, turning hindsight into foresight.
  • Columnist for Vox, where she writes a biweekly column for The Big Idea section.
  • Contributing editor to U.S. News & World Report, where she writes a weekly column on politics and history for the magazine's Thomas Jefferson Street blog
  • Syndicated columnist for The Age, where she writes a fortnightly column on American politics. 
  • Research associate at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, where she provides commentary on U.S. politics.

Hemmer has also written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, the New Republic, Politico, and the Washington Post. Her book, Messengers of the Right, a history of conservative media, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in September 2016.

In 2001, Hemmer graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in psychology from Marian (College) University in Indianapolis. She earned her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in U.S. history from Columbia University, and has won fellowships from Columbia, the Miller Center of Public Affairs, and the US Studies Centre. From 2012-2015, she was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Miami.