Is America Ready to See Itself as an Orchestra?

Cultural Pluralism Offers a Better Concept of the Nation Than the Melting Pot Ever Did

More than a century after Jewish American philosopher Horace Kallen developed the concept of cultural pluralism in 1915, it has never been more important. In the simplest terms, cultural pluralism is the idea that diversity is the true genius of American culture. Or as Ralph Ellison put it in 1961, “I believe in diversity, and I think the real death of the United States will be when everyone is just alike.” The concept is rooted in the belief that America is at its best when it welcomes immigrants and allows …

Scientists Don’t Have to Be Heroes | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Scientists Don’t Have to Be Heroes

How NASA and ASU Astronomer Lindy Elkins-Tanton Is Dismantling the Personality-Driven Culture of the Research Laboratory

Two decades ago, NASA’s Psyche mission principal investigator and ASU Interplanetary Initiative vice president Lindy Elkins-Tanton was working toward her PhD at MIT. It was a place she loved, but …

TKTK | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Confused About Journalism’s Goals? You Must Be American

Reporters Here May Be Social Justice Warriors, Corporate Victims, or Targets—Or All of the Above

Journalists seemed to be heroic figures when they covered civil rights, poverty, pollution, the Vietnam War, and Watergate. But more recently that story has become confused.

Journalists are sometimes victims …

Nature Needs Greater Diversity—In Its Human Visitors

Drawing More Non-Whites Into Parks and Natural Areas Requires Changes in Access, Staffing, Recruitment—and Narratives

“Is nature only for white people?” was the deliberately provocative query that framed a Zócalo/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County panel discussion. It was quickly dispensed with by the …

The Pain of Surviving the San Fernando Valley Can Make You Powerful

In Two Memoirs, Activist Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Comedian-Actress Tiffany Haddish Reveal How ’90s L.A. Shaped Them

How can Californians rise from horrific local circumstances to national influence?

Two recent books offer one answer: It may help to have grown up amid the racism and institutional failures of …

Were Empires Better Than Nation-States at Managing Diversity?

By Respecting Local Cultures, Far-Flung Rulers Fostered Cooperation From Those They Subjected

Did empires actually serve to protect the diversity of their subjugated people? And if so, what lessons can they offer for the challenges facing modern states?

Answering these questions might begin …