What Is the Value of Art? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
Los Angeles In-Person | Streaming Online

What Is the Value of Art?

The headlines that make breaking news in the art world most often concern a piece’s financial worth, which nearly always means how much a private collector paid for it. But for most of us, the value of art has very little to do with a dollar amount. Rather, art provides an avenue to a diverse range of critical discussions, evokes …

Are Elected Presidents Bad for Democracy? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
Ciudad de México, México In-Person | Streaming Online

Are Elected Presidents Bad for Democracy?

In Mexico, the United States, and other nations, presidential elections have long been described as the essence of democracy. And elected presidents are lauded as unifying figures who represent all citizens, ensuring that a country’s popular will is not thwarted by special interests and locally elected lawmakers. But, from Caracas to Ankara to Washington, recent presidents have abused their …

Can Decolonization Explain Everything? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
Los Angeles In-Person | Streaming Online

Can Decolonization Explain Everything?

People place blame for inequality, climate change, political polarization, and other current woes on all kinds of bad actors and influences: authoritarians, corporations, globalization, social media. But the decline of Western empires during the 20th century was arguably the catalyst for it all. Decolonization changed millions of people’s lives—primarily for the better—transforming art, culture, global and local politics, economics, and …

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

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 …