The Ghetto’s Complex and Troubled Legacy

Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea

In 2017, we often hear the word “ghetto” come up in music lyrics and casual conversation, out of the mouths of politicians and activists. We know what it means; it needs no explanation. Yet beyond its negative connotations lie 500 years of rich—and relevant—history. Princeton University sociologist Mitchell Duneier, winner of the seventh annual Zócalo Book Prize for Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea, visits Zócalo to examine why the ghetto endures and what it means to us today. Below is the preface from his …

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The Zócalo Dozen Soothe, Agitate, and Enlighten

12 Favorite Essays Size Up 2016 and Anticipate the Year Ahead

In 2016, writers of Zócalo essays took us inside a dry cleaning business in South L.A., admired the ingenious mosaics created by a Chicago artist to fill the city’s potholes, …

The Ladies Who Saved the U.S. Senate

Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way America Works

Whatever the outcome of the presidential election in November, the increasing influence of women in politics and culture—in some ways because they are women—is irrefutable, argues Jay Newton-Small in Broad …