• Essay

    Why Do So Many Nevadans Still Die on the Job?

    Decades After 187 Laborers Perished at the Hoover Dam Construction Site, the State's Safety Rules Are Out of Sync With Modern Workplaces

    By Michelle Follette Turk

    In the span of 18 months in 2007 and 2008, Nevada was the scene of 12 worker fatalities at casino construction sites. The disasters were not small: A 7,300-pound ...

  • Essay

    The Escaped Slave Who Discovered America

    Esteban, a Captive of Spanish Explorers, Led an Eight-Year, 3,500-Mile Trek Across the Southwest and Mexico

    By Dennis Herrick

    “The first white man our people saw was a black man,” wrote historian and Pueblo native Joe Sando in Pueblo Nations. ...

  • Essay

    Even Nobel Prize-Winning Physicists Need a Little Luck

    Accidental Experiments and Chance Encounters Helped Enrico Fermi Develop the First Nuclear Reactor

    By David N. Schwartz

    The general public may view the scientific enterprise as rational and methodical, moving forward in an orderly, cohesive way. But science moves in fits and ...

New at Zócalo

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AMERICAN

The Sleeping Car King Who Brought America to the “Ragged Edge of Anarchy”

George Pullman’s Unbending Business Acumen Made Him a Mogul, But Also Inspired the Greatest Labor Uprising of the 19th Century

By Jack Kelly

    George M. Pullman literally raised Chicago from the mud. He introduced luxury to the nation’s rail lines. He even created a model company town for his workers—a feat that prompted some to proclaim him the “Messiah of a new age.”
    Then, in the greatest labor uprising of the nineteenth century, he found himself cast as the villain and his reputation turned to dust.
    Pullman began his career lifting buildings. Taking over a business started by his father, he moved warehouses and barns to allow a widening of the Erie Canal. During the 1850s, officials in Chicago decided to raise their whole city ten feet to allow for drainage of its mud-clogged streets. Pullman jumped at the opportunity. ...

Essay

The Philosopher Who Coined the Term ‘Nationalism’ Also Preached Inclusivity

275 Years Ago, Johann Gottfried Herder Imagined Nations Forming Around a Common Language and Culture, Not a Common Enemy

By Robert Zaretsky

    Since the French Revolution, a brilliant cast of ideologies has starred on the world stage, ranging from conservatism to liberalism to communism. Yet the -ism that has been most resilient, and today has become resurgent, is one that modern thinkers dismissed as a walk-on. Nationalism, the political theorist Isaiah Berlin once observed, was long thought to be an allergic reaction of national consciousness when “held down and forcibly repressed by despotic rulers.” Remove this particular allergen, and the sneezing fit of nationalism would end.
    Yet as we stumble into the 21st century, the sneezing has grown more, not less violent. Indeed, it threatens to tear apart the traditional ...

Poetry

  • By Rita O'Connell

    Never much good at judging distances
    or my own physical strength, I imagine
    this morning that I ...

  • By Felicia Zamora

    & the blades of grass prepare for dormant;
    think think in stillness, under winter’s palm in
    swift approach; desire ...

Connecting California Joe Mathews