• Essay

    How White Settlers Buried the Truth About the Midwest's Mysterious Mounds

    Pioneers and Early Archeologists Preferred to Credit Distant Civilizations, Not Native Americans, With Building These Monumental Cities

    By Sarah E. Baires

    In 1400, the largest city north of Mexico was Cahokia, sitting in what is now southern Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Built around A.D. 1050 and occupied through A.D. 1400, Cahokia had …

  • Essay

    What the Path of Curry Tells Us About Globalization

    Courtesy of the British Empire, the Spice Was Used to Pay Indian Workers Brought to South America to Replace African Slaves

    By Lizzie Collingham

    One Sunday morning in 1993, “Bushman,” “Spider,” “Tall Boy,” and “Crab Dog” were gathered at a rum shop in the Guyanese coastal village of Mahaica. The rainy season had driven these ...

  • Essay

    What Benjamin Franklin Ate When He Was Homesick

    Living Abroad, the Founder From Philadelphia Saw America's Essence in Turkeys, Succotash, and Cranberries

    By Rae Katherine Eighmey

    In the midst of the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin envisioned the turkey as an exemplar of the ideal American citizen. In a 1783 …

New at Zócalo

By Elizabeth Bucar

In 2018, Islamic clothing is officially cool. CoverGirl has a hijabi ambassador. H&M sells a popular modest clothing line. Even Barbie wears a headscarf on a doll modeled after the American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.
   Despite this cool factor, Islamic women’s headscarves and clothing retain strong associations with piety and politics, symbolism that is wielded both by the woman in the clothes and the people around her. In countries where Muslims are minorities, as in the United States, merely wearing hijab is seen as a political act, albeit one that can be interpreted in many ways. Shepard Fairey created an image of a woman wearing a flag hijab as a sign of tolerance and inclusivity ...

Could a New River City Transform California?

Along the San Joaquin, Madera County Is Building Thousands of New Homes—and Perhaps Shaping the State's Next Great Region

By Joe Mathews

Could the San Joaquin River, long a dividing line in the heart of California, unite the state in pursuit of a more metropolitan future for the Central Valley?
    Whether that happens will be determined in Madera County, on the north side of the river from Fresno. There, a new city, consisting of multiple large planned communities, is finally under construction after decades of planning and litigation.
    The city has no name and incorporation could be decades away. But within a generation, its population could grow to more than 100,000 people; by mid-century, it might ...

Connecting California/Joe Mathews

  • Could These Four 'Lady Bird' Sequels Save Sacramento?

    Greta Gerwig Has Promised a Quartet of Films About Her Hometown, and California's Capital Needs New Narratives

    Here’s the good news in Sacramento: “Lady Bird,” a coming-of-age film set in Sacramento—and written and directed by the California capital’s own Greta Gerwig—has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture.
       Here’s the better news for Sacramento: Gerwig, having achieved such success with ...

  • O Canada, Please Colonize the Coachella Valley

    Snowbirds Have Saved SoCal's Desert Economy. Why Not Just Deed Them the Land?

    Let’s give the Coachella Valley to Canada.
        After all, Canadians already run the place in winter.
        Over the past 40 years, snowbirds from the True North have grown into a winter fixture in greater Palm Springs. They get a lot more than an escape from cold winter weather. The California desert is a much shorter flight than Maui, and it offers an array of arts and ...

  • Will Los Angeles Tear Down the Walls That Keep It Apart From Latin America?

    By Standing up to Trump and Letting People Move Freely, We Could Become a True LA-LA Land

    Los Angeles is a great many things, but it is not Latin America.
        Such a statement should be as uncontroversial as a map of the Western hemisphere. But today, elite conventional wisdom runs the other way.
        Lewis D’Vorkin, the editor of the ...

Video Highlights

  • Los Angeles has a Spanish-language name, a distinctly Latino ambience, and a mayor who puffs up with pride whenever he talks about his family’s Mexican roots. Yet it’s also a city where most people of Latin American heritage are native-born, not immigrants, and where recent waves of ...