Where I Go: The Best Basketball Court in Lisbon

At Campo dos Mártires da Pátria, There’s Only One Shared Language, and Everyone Is Welcome

When I arrived in Lisbon in late 2016, I was in the best basketball shape of my life. I had just finished a master’s degree in Scotland, where I had started for the university’s second team (and rode the bench for the first). So one of the first things I did after unpacking was to seek out what I’d heard was the best basketball court in the city.

I’d moved to Portugal after securing some remote freelance work. My plan was to add a language to my lopsided resume—I already spoke …

Why I Drove 80 Miles Across Southern California on Surface Streets

The Road to the Inland Empire Is Paved With Good Memories—And Gratitude for Freeways

Don’t ever complain about freeway traffic, especially around my mother.

“You’re lucky to have freeways—when I was a kid, we didn’t have freeways,” she used to say.

But that didn’t stop my …

Theater Understands Your Holiday Dinner Angst

Family Tables, Real and Imagined, Serve Up 'Birthrights, Grudges, Feuds, Illicit Unions, and Deeply Buried Secrets'

This is the time of year when families come together, crossing county and state lines and national borders, traversing bodies of water and mountain ranges that made cannibals of our …

Book Prize Winners 2011 to present

The 2022 Zócalo Book Prize Celebrates Human Connectedness

For 12 Years, We Have Honored Excellence in Nonfiction Exploring Community and Social Cohesion

Since 2011, Zócalo Public Square’s annual book prize has recognized the U.S.-published nonfiction book that best enhances our understanding of community and the forces that strengthen or undermine human connectedness …

Where I Go: The Geology of Memory | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Where I Go: The Headlands of Yehliu

It Took Me 20 Years and Five Visits to Develop My Own Relationship to Taiwan

I was hiking the Port Orford Heads State Park on the coast of Southern Oregon this summer when I realized how closely the rock formations and coastline resemble the rugged …

A People’s Song Upon the Waters | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A People’s Song Upon the Waters

A Familial Examination of the Sea Chantey Lays Out Its African American Roots

The last time I visited my paternal grandfather, Elton Smith, Jr., at his Virginia home, it was 2018, and he was well into his 90s. As I interviewed him for …