New at Zócalo

  • Essay

    The Genius Mexican Composer History Forgot

    Uncovering Juventino Rosas, Whose Waltz Took the World By Storm But Whose Story Remains a Mystery

    by Oliver Mayer |

    Juventino Rosas’ waltz “Sobre las Olas” (Over the Waves) is perhaps the most famous song of its generation. Now, more than 130 years after it was written, the tune still …

  • Connecting California

    A Movie That Might Be Worse Than Civil War

    ‘Civil War’ Offers A Vision of California Fighting the U.S. That Matches Foreign Propaganda—and Misses the Point

    by Joe Mathews |

    The new film Civil War is a historic cinematic achievement. British director Alex Garland has made a movie that might be worse than a real American civil war.

    Perhaps that was …

  • Essay

    Is the Wilderness Act Still Protecting Nature?

    The Landmark 1964 Law Is Now Preventing Effective Land Management and Critical Climate Research

    by Daniel T. Blumstein and Thomas B. Smith |

    At the end of 2023, four environmental groups sued the National Park Service and invoked the Wilderness Act to stop the replanting of trees following a catastrophic wildfire in Sequoia and …

  • Poetry

    by Sheila Black


    The elm split by lightening stands
    above the bench where my father sat
    the summer he could no longer breathe
    enough to walk to the Avalon
    without stopping. I sat …

  • Essay

    Will Young Americans Finally Rock the Vote?

    After Decades of Research, We Know How to Get New People to the Polls. We Just Don’t Always Do It

    by Jane Eisner |

    Twenty years ago, I published Taking Back the Vote: Getting American Youth Involved in Our Democracy. The book grew out of a personal passion: Once my oldest child was able …

  • Essay

    Reading Animal Farm in Zimbabwe

    From Minority White Rule to Dictatorship and Beyond, Orwell’s 1945 Novel—Now in a New Translation—Has Proved Prescient

    by Beaven Tapureta |

    I began to notice Animal Farm references proliferating in Zimbabwe in 2008.

    That was the year hyperinflation nosedived the economy, and long-time leader Robert Mugabe felt threatened enough by a newly …

  • Connecting California

    The Losing A’s Found a Winning City to Host Them

    West Sacramento Is on a Hot Streak. Other California Cities Should Watch

    by Joe Mathews |

    The Oakland A’s are baseball’s biggest losers. But their new temporary home—West Sacramento—is one of California’s greatest winners.

    No California city has had a better 21st century than West Sacramento. The …

  • Up For Discussion

    What Makes an Inclusive Public Square?

    A Space With the Right Infrastructure Can Support, Welcome, and Empower Everyone

    The public square is the meeting ground where people make society happen. In these spaces, physical or metaphorical or digital, we work through our shared dramas and map our collective …

  • Poetry

    by Liza Hudock


    I like to wash wool blankets
    in a rubber tub, stomping
    as if I live on a vineyard,
    the detritus of a year
    squelching and puffing
    between my feet. I …

  • Up For Discussion

    How Do We Find Connection in the Public Square?

    On Forming Bonds Over Bars, Benches, Books, and Breakfast

    The public square is the meeting ground where people make society happen. In these spaces, physical or metaphorical or digital, we work through our shared dramas and map our collective …

  • Sketchbook

    Matt Wood is an illustrator and the co-founder of the cooperative animation team Bad Idea Motion Studios.   

    Wood’s Zócalo Sketchbook imagines “what nature might look like if it insisted on innovating …

  • Democracy Local

    Could This New Democratic Tool Make Californians Vote Smarter?

    The Digital Deliberative Poll May Encourage the Public to Learn More About Their Ballots

    by Joe Mathews |

    Californians vote on many ballot measures, but we almost never participate in significant public debates and discussions about the measures’ contents and impacts.

    This isn’t simply a result of apathy or …