Does America Really Want to Be a Nation of Immigrants? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Does America Really Want to Be a Nation of Immigrants?

The year 1924 was a watershed in American immigration. A victory for the eugenics movement, the Johnson-Reed Act established race-based quotas that succeeded in limiting the entry of Jews and Catholics from Southern and Eastern Europe, as well as strengthening restrictions already in place barring the entry of Asians and Africans. It would take an extraordinary political window following the …

What is the Meaning of Life? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What is the Meaning of Life?

“I intend to live forever, or die trying,” said Groucho Marx. Distinguishing between life and its end may be easy for comedians, even immortal ones. But the task has proven surprisingly hard for biologists, who know too much about nature’s bewildering diversity. Modern science, for all its breakthroughs, has yet to produce a standard definition for life. What does it …

How Did Politics and Pop Culture Become One? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Did Politics and Pop Culture Become One?

In 1974, American politics and pop culture intersected as never before. Norman Lear’s TV shows considered the depths of racism as Tom Bradley completed his first year in office as L.A.’s first Black mayor. Musicians like Linda Rondstadt and politicians like Jerry Brown incorporated counterculture notes into mainstream performances. And, as Watergate consumed the final days of the Nixon presidency, …

Do Inventors Bear Responsibility for the Effects of Their Inventions? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Do Inventors Bear Responsibility for the Effects of Their Inventions?

Every year scientists who have made great inventions receive Nobel Prizes recognizing their “benefit to humankind.” Yet for all the profound ways scientific progress has impacted our lives, many inventions have affected the world in ways that their creators did not imagine. Some innovations, created for peaceful purposes, have been used in war; others have had unintended environmental or health …

How Do Our Cities Prepare for the Post-Apocalypse? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Do Our Cities Prepare for the Post-Apocalypse?

It’s too late to prevent the apocalypse. Because it’s already here. A virus spreads globally, creating a pandemic, as yet uncontrolled. Climate change accelerates, and hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, and floods grow deadlier. Nuclear weapons and disruptive technologies proliferate, and economic dislocation and record mass migrations destabilize cities. Is it reasonable to expect urban centers, which are particularly threatened by …

Does Power Dressing Change the Power of Politics? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Does Power Dressing Have the Power to Change Politics?

A new, bold generation of women leaders is ascending in America. They haven’t entirely ditched the pantsuit, but they have embraced eye-catching colors, up-and-coming designers, and statement-making clothes and accessories. Which means these women have also opened themselves up to the risks—and rewards—inherent in such choices. This past election cycle had no shortage of iconic fashion moments, from Vice President …