Zócalo Public Square

A daily News and Politics podcast
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Episodes of Zócalo Public Square

One hundred years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, Zócalo and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County present When Women Vote, a three-event series that concluded with “What Are Today’s L.A. Women Fighting For?” Women have mad
If you commit murder in the United States, there’s a 40 percent chance you’ll get away with it. That shocking statistic belies other realities; you have better than even odds of getting away with murder if you kill people who are poor, powerles
“What do we do now?” asks Robert Redford at the end of “The Candidate,” the 1972 political satire that ends in an election upset—and existential despair. After a presidential election defined by an international pandemic and rampant misinformat
Few Californians pay attention to state government (much less visit the state Capitol), and few of us even bother to vote in elections for our weak local governments. So our officials are often elected by the campaign dollars of rich people, po
The conventional American narrative since the civil rights era has been that states tend to violate our rights, and the federal government intervenes to protect people. But much of American history runs the other way, offering numerous examples
The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 proclaimed that celestial objects are “the province of all mankind.” But so far, space travel has been a costly and exclusive province (fewer than 600 people have been in orbit). Today’s headlines about space are
Many Americans of Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian heritage have thrived in the U.S. through perseverance, resilience, education, and upward mobility, despite waves of discrimination both overt and hidden. Now, COVID-19 has escalated xenophob
The United States—once revered for its political stability—now seems gripped by political mania. American discourse, particularly around government and elections, is full of conspiracy theories, paranoia, xenophobia, and overheated denunciation
Across the world, elite politicians, militaries, and powerful business and political groups appear to have a monopoly on representative democracy. By exploiting the resulting discontent, populists and authoritarians have created an internationa
Since 1964, more women than men have voted in every United States presidential election. Yet we still don’t have a woman president or vice president; California, one of the first states to give women the right to vote, is one of 20 states that
Imagine a society where truth and knowledge have no value, people are glued to their screens, and world war feels imminent. Or think of a place enraptured by the seductive promises of a carnival-hawker con man. Sound familiar? The first, of cou
There are few forces of nature more formidable than a group of women fed up with the status quo. From the French Revolution—which was sparked in part by a 7,000-woman march from Paris to Versailles—to Black Lives Matter—which was founded by thr
What is the relationship between American economics and American racism, and can it be severed? How will systemic racism, past and present, slow our emergence from the current downturn? New York Times journalist Eduardo Porter, author of the ne
How Can Humans Coexist With Monster Wildfires?
On Wednesday, June 24, the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast predicted a difficult economic future for California and reported that the U.S. economy is in a "Depression-like crisis." What does this mean for California’s pressing long-term problems,
The Summer Olympics are the one time every four years when millions of people tune into track and field and swimming; stars from rival basketball and soccer clubs come together to represent their respective countries; and people learn (and then
What is the history behind the president’s style of rhetoric, and what does the past tell us about how to counteract it? Jennifer Mercieca, historian of rhetoric and author of Demagogue for President, visited Zócalo with William Sturkey, histor
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, was a city of opportunity for African Americans. Leaving the surrounding cotton fields behind, they built churches, schools, clubs, and businesses; they were tied together
“in times like these / to have you listen at all, it’s necessary / to talk about trees.” So wrote Adrienne Rich in her poem “What Kind of Times Are These?” Human beings, when faced with difficulty and uncertainty, seek meaning, connection and p
More than half of our nation’s fruits and vegetables are produced by California workers—who often risk their health to put food on our tables. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, farmworkers have been designated “essential workers” along with doctors a
A quarter century ago, neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote of a young patient whose brain tumor appeared to have cost him his memory—until the music of his favorite group, the Grateful Dead, brought him back to reality. Today, scholars in the field
Native American artists have long used explorations of the future as a way to reflect on the present. Contemporary Native artists, from the Mohawk sci-fi multimedia artist Skawennati to the Navajo photographer Will Wilson, have been using innov
How Can L.A. Use Its Past to Build a Brighter Future?
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say it has become more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views since the current administration took office. Majorities of Americans, across all demographics, say race relations have wors
In 2016, Californians voted to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana. But three years later, the very basics of regulating legal weed remain uncertain, and the new markets for marijuana have become another confounding California mess. It’
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