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Would Parliamentary America Have More Fun?

With the 2024 election season upon us, Americans feel political despair. The president and his leading challenger, a former president, are deeply unpopular. Huge majorities, in both parties, tell pollsters that the two-party system is broken. For many, the prospect of engaging in upcoming political contests evokes downright dread.

So, where can we find the inspiration and ideas to fundamentally repair …

| Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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“What Is a Good Job Now?” For the Formerly Incarcerated

It’s been over 50 years since the era of mass incarceration started in the United States. Over the past decade, and especially in the pandemic, California has made major changes in its criminal justice system to reduce its prison population and sentences. But it has been slower to develop and invest in new systems to support Californians as they transition …

How Do We Hear America? A Special Evening of Music by Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Raven Chacon | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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How Do We Hear America? A Special Evening of Music by Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Raven Chacon

Americans learn the Pledge of Allegiance as kids, reciting it day after day in public school and seldom giving it meaningful thought.

But what would we hear if we listened—really listened—to the pledge? What would it mean to reimagine it through the unique histories and perspectives of the musicians performing it and the place in which it is performed? Can experiencing …

Is AI the End of Creativity—Or a New Beginning? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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Is AI the End of Creativity—Or a New Beginning?

In 1951, Alan Turing, the father of computer science, predicted that “at some stage… we should have to expect the machines to take control.” As artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT promise to revolutionize the way we think and work—and futurists talk of the technology as a next step in human evolution—“some stage” appears to be now.

For creative workers, the question …

How Should Arts Institutions Navigate the Culture Wars? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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How Should Arts Institutions Navigate the Culture Wars?

Polarization has engulfed arts organizations—like every other institution in 21st-century American and European life. But rather than finding themselves pulled apart by political parties doing battle, museums, performing arts companies, and other cultural cornerstones often face other conflicting demands, positioned between their aging donors and overwhelmingly white audience-bases on one side and younger, more diverse artists and new audiences on …

Must Artists Be Activists? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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Must Artists Be Activists?

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work,” a friend told Toni Morrison in a fraught political moment, “not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job!” Is this true of every artist, and must it be the case all the time? Great art and true democracies are built on freedom of expression—but when …