New at Zócalo

Glimpses

How Our View of National Parks Shapes American Identity

What We Seek and Find in Our Sacred Environments Reflects Our Country’s Character

    Few natural regions have been photographed as often, or in such varied ways, as the American West. Many of these alluring, emotionally resonant landscapes lie within the boundaries of national parks, and photography has played a crucial role in promoting this heritage, thereby helping to articulate a crucial aspect of American identity. Frank Jay Haynes, Carleton Watkins, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston and Lee Friedlander are among the masters who trained their lenses on the granite face of Yosemite, waited patiently to capture the burst of a Yellowstone geyser, and poured their imaginations into the Grand Canyon’s depths. Later generations of artists including Rebecca Norris Webb, John Pfahl, and Roger Minick, have produced works that demonstrate how the postwar explosion in commercial and amateur photography, along with the impact of film and television, transformed Americans’ perceptions of their country’s natural splendors. Many ...

Essay

How Cesarean Births Became a ‘Global Epidemic’

Reliance on New Obstetric Technology and Lawsuit-Averse Doctors Made Traditional Birth Seem More Risky Than C-Sections

By Jacqueline H. Wolf

    Almost one in three births in the United States today is by cesarean section—a dramatic change from a century ago when physicians avoided the surgery whenever possible. Doctors remained so wary of the surgery’s effects that even in the early 1970s, fewer than one in 20 births was by cesarean section. By 1987, though, cesareans accounted for one in four births in the United States. Since then, the frequency of the surgery has surged worldwide. A recent issue of the medical journal The Lancet condemned this “global epidemic” of unnecessary cesareans.
    How did this major abdominal surgery—which poses significant risks—become mainstream in less than a generation? Many factors, including new obstetric technology, the effect of that technology on malpractice threats and costs, and changes in the way doctors are trained converged to make cesareans seem less risky ...

Connecting California Joe Mathews

Poetry