What Can We Laugh About? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
Los Angeles In-Person | Streaming Online

What Can We Laugh About?

It sometimes feels like we will never laugh again, and that levity’s moment has passed. But comedians have always grappled with difficult topics in difficult times, helping the rest of us better understand ourselves—and let off a little steam in the process. Comedians dare to go where others can’t. Satire, stand-up, and skits can take on the topics that most …

How Should We Prepare for Aliens to Arrive on Earth? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
Los Angeles In-Person | Streaming Online

How Should We Prepare for Aliens to Arrive on Earth?

Since the beginning of time, people have gazed up at the stars and wondered: Are we alone in the universe? Now, this question is stoking controversy as the U.S. military continues its release of videos showing “unidentified aerial phenomena”—about which former President Barack Obama admitted, “We don’t know exactly what they are.” It’s time we put together a game plan—preferably …

How Should Societies Remember Their Sins? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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What Kind of Monuments Do We Deserve?

Beyond debates over keeping statues up or tearing them down, and changing the names of schools and streets, lie more fundamental questions at the intersection of personal and public memory. Whom do we remember, who remembers, and whom does remembering serve? What do we owe to those who lived before us and those who come after us? How can we …

How Should Societies Remember Their Sins? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
In-Person | Streaming Online

Why Isn’t Remembering Enough to Repair?

The Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel did not believe in collective guilt. Instead, he asked for repair, and for holding the post-World War II generation of Germans responsible “not for the past, but for the way it remembers the past. And for what it does with the memory of the past.” Other societies and communities have taken up Wiesel’s call—at the …

How Should Societies Remember Their Sins? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
In-Person | Streaming Online

Does Confronting Our History Build a Better Future?

Recent attempts to confront difficult history appear to be dividing the United States and entangling communities in cultural and legal conflict. But historians, social justice activists, and many others argue that grappling with the sins of the past, and the way they reverberate into the present, is a necessary foundation for reimagining the future. What are the best and most …