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 …

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 …

A Special Zócalo/Da Poetry Lounge Spoken Word Performance: Does Democracy Need Poets? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
Los Angeles In-Person | Streaming Online

A Special Zócalo/Da Poetry Lounge Spoken Word Performance: Does Democracy Need Poets?

As long as there have been poems, there have been political poems: verses, intended to be heard aloud, meant to sway opinion and inspire action. Poetry played a crucial role in the Athenian democracy of ancient Greece; throughout American history, poet luminaries such as Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou have employed the power of the pen to influence …

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 Has Computer Code Shaped Humanity? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
Los Angeles In-Person | Streaming Online

How Has Computer Code Shaped Humanity?

Nearly 80 years after engineers programmed the first electronic computers, most of us still regard machines as supremely rational collections of electrical circuits, speaking in binary “1”s and “0”s. It can be easy to forget that software, the digital instructions that tell computers how to do their jobs, springs from the minds of living, breathing people. And these coders imbue …

Bureaucracy Under Populist Rule? – Rubina Zern-Breuer, Michael Bauer & Joe Mathews in a Fishbowl Discussion. | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
Los Angeles | In-Person

Can Public Bureaucracy Survive Populism?

The German sociologist Max Weber once described the regularity of public administration as protection against arbitrariness, since everyone has to play by the same rational rules. But does this definition still hold up today, with rising populism on both sides of the Atlantic targeting public administration? What is the role of bureaucracy when the legitimacy of electoral processes is constantly …