What 19th-Century Kansas Cow Towns Teach Us About Global Capital

    Like Amazon Today, Railroads Determined the Fortunes of Even the Most Distant Communities

    by Joshua Specht

    Boasting dozens of windows and a hundred-person dining room, the Drovers Cottage was quite a hotel by the standards of the 19th-century American West. Even more impressive: It managed to be the main attraction of ...

  • In the Green Room

    UCLA Sociologist Jeffrey Guhin

    I Do a Lot of Things That Are Very Dorky

    Jeffrey Guhin is an assistant professor of sociology at UCLA. His first book, forthcoming from Oxford University Press, is a comparison of two Sunni Muslim and two Evangelical Christian high schools. Before joining a Zócalo/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County panel ...

New at Zócalo


The Woolen Shoes That Made Revolutionary-Era Women Feel Patriotic

Calamanco Footwear Was Sturdy, Egalitarian, and Made in the USA

by Kimberly Alexander

If you were a wealthy or middle-class woman living in British America around the time of the Revolution, you probably owned a pair of calamanco shoes. Like sneakers or black pumps today, calamancos were the everyday footwear of early American life: practical clothing items that can reveal a great deal about the day-to-day lives—and aspirations—of their owners.
  But first, what was calamanco, this special item coveted by women of wealth and women of the middling sort? Calamanco (also spelled callimanco, calamanco, or calamink) is a worsted wool textile finished with a glossy, glazed surface, created by forcing the cloth through hot rollers. Historians trace the earliest usage of the term back to the late 16th century. Some scholars attribute the derivation of the word from a modification of Spanish “calamaco,” and from the Late Latin word ...


America’s Hidden History of Conquest and the Meaning of the West

Historian Patricia Nelson Limerick on How Invaders Came to See Themselves as Victims, Then Romanticized the Native Americans They Displaced

Interview by Gregory Rodriguez

Patricia Nelson Limerick is a leading scholar of the American West, and the faculty director and chair of the board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, where she also serves as a professor of history. She has published five books, including The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West, a complex work of scholarship that reframed the narrative of the “opening” of the West. She has been the Colorado State Historian, a columnist for The Denver Post, and a MacArthur Fellow. In August 2019, while visiting the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California, to take part in a discussion on whether Americans ever got along, she sat down to talk with Zócalo publisher Gregory Rodriguez. They discussed the difficulties of defining “the West,” how Limerick’s own views of history have evolved over her career, and why ...

Connecting California Joe Mathews


  • by Chloe Honum

    On a too hot bus, my sister and I traveled through fields of sunflowers ...