Are American States Better at Protecting Human Rights Than the U.S. Government? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Are American States Better at Protecting Human Rights Than the U.S. Government?

The conventional American narrative since the civil rights era has been that states tend to violate our rights, and the federal government intervenes to protect people. But much of American history runs the other way, offering numerous examples of states acting to protect the rights of their people—notably Indigenous peoples, African Americans escaping slavery, and undocumented immigrants—from federal authorities. What’s …

Can Space Exploration Save Humanity? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Can Space Exploration Save Humanity?

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 proclaimed that celestial objects are “the province of all mankind.” But so far, space travel has been a costly and exclusive province (fewer than 600 people have been in orbit). Today’s headlines about space are dominated by billionaires who dream of escaping their Earth-bound lives or providing new tourist thrills. And the biggest space …

When Will Californians Start Spending Again? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

When Will Californians Start Spending Again?

California isn’t just the world’s fifth largest economy—it’s also a global capital of consumer culture. And now its culture, and the everyday habits of its people, are being profoundly disrupted by the pandemic and its associated economic collapse. A sudden, sharp decline in consumer satisfaction has laid open the profound fragility of the California economy. How is COVID-19 changing the …

Does a New Wave of Anti-Asian American Racism Require New Ways of Fighting Back? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Does a New Wave of Anti-Asian American Racism Require New Ways of Fighting Back?

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Many Americans of Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian heritage have thrived in the U.S. through perseverance, resilience, education, and upward mobility, despite waves of discrimination both overt and hidden. Now, COVID-19 has escalated xenophobia and anti-Asian prejudices—from references to “Kung Flu” or the “Chinese virus” to acts of violence …

Has Hysteria Conquered America? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Has Hysteria Conquered America?

The United States—once revered for its political stability—now seems gripped by political mania. American discourse, particularly around government and elections, is full of conspiracy theories, paranoia, xenophobia, and overheated denunciations. Such hysteria might be the product of more recent economic dislocation, failed wars, the digital revolution, or divisive elected officials. But perhaps it has deeper roots in America’s imperial history, …