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

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 formed opposition party that he silenced its supporters.

In the years since, writers and independent media have repeatedly turned to Animal Farm as a way to illuminate our political reality—even after Mugabe’s 2017 ousting. Last year, a group of Zimbabwean writers published the first-ever Shona translation of it, Chimurenga Chemhuka or Animal Revolution. Chimurenga Chemhuka, published by House of Books, strategically …

In Mexico, a New Vocabulary for Grief and Justice | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

In Mexico, a New Vocabulary for Grief and Justice

Most Murders in the Country Go Uninvestigated. Activists and Writers Are Coming Together to Demand Accountability

“Almost everyone lost someone during the war,” writes Cristina Rivera Garza in The Restless Dead: Necrowriting and Disappropriation.  

In 2006, Mexican president Felipe Calderón initiated the …

How a French Nobel Laureate Remembers Things Past

On Paper and Film, Annie Ernaux Probes History for Questions, Not Answers

Memory is an imperfect reflector of lived experience. We look back through a series of lenses, and our focal mechanisms shift with the light. Personal memory is shape-shifted by history—what …

Are We Ready to Listen to René Girard?

The Philosopher Saw a World of Scapegoats and Persecutors. On His 100th Birthday, His Insights Into Human Nature Are as Relevant as Ever

Years ago at a conference, French theorist René Girard faced a tough question about his unconventional methods.

The Stanford professor’s research involved a close reading of archaic and classical texts from …

Our Favorite Essays of 2022 | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Our Favorite Essays of 2022

From Behind Prison Walls to a Container Ship Out at Sea to the World’s Largest Refugee Camp, Zócalo’s Contributors Traversed the World to Report on the Human Condition

In 2022, Zócalo’s contributors reported from the front lines of a changing world, looking to foster conversation—and curiosity—about the way we live now.

While selecting just 10 essays from the scores …

Christmas, ’Tis the Season for Scary Stories | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Christmas, ’Tis the Season for Scary Stories

The Spectral Tales We Tell Respond to Our Deepest Desires—Especially on a Long, Dark Winter’s Night

Popularized by Charles Dickens in his 1843 A Christmas Carol, as well as in the yuletide editions of his literary magazine, All the Year Round, ghost stories were regular Christmas …