How Early Americans Narrated Disease

This Tradition of Storytelling Around Illness Still Pushes Us to Grieve—And Imagine a Path Forward

In April, as COVID-19 marched wearily into its second year, my mother became suddenly and unnervingly ill. Barely coherent, she was hospitalized.

Only a couple of days earlier she had been playing with my children, hiking in Northwest Arkansas, dyeing Easter eggs, and—as my mom tends to do—talking non-stop. Now, in the hospital, she sounded like she was in another world. Her normally sharp mind became fanciful and her sentences slipped away into empty pauses.

My mother didn’t have COVID, our initial fear. She had developed sepsis, an extreme and …

My Childhood in a Cult Prepared Me for COVID-19 Lockdown  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

My Childhood in a Cult Prepared Me for COVID-19 Lockdown 

The Pandemic Pushed Me to Confront My Painful Past, and to Truly Help Save the World—By Listening to Science

I can vividly recall the final time I hugged friends before the lockdown. We were crowded in the velvety closeness of a dark music venue where they were performing. I …

This Period of Crisis Can Help Lead Us ‘Closer to the Good’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

This Period of Crisis Can Help Lead Us ‘Closer to the Good’

From Studying Ancient Wisdom to Learning From Modern Emergencies, We Have the Tools to Be Better 

The final Zócalo/University of Toronto The World We Want event, “Can We Still Find the Good in the World?,” delved into a wide-ranging discussion of what finding the good in …

How Can a Society Apologize? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Can a Society Apologize?

A Rabbi Asks Whether America Can Bridge ‘the Sea of Society and the River of Time’ to Atone for Its Sins

The Biblical story of the Gibeonites rarely makes it into the classroom of a Sunday School or Hebrew school, but the tale has much to say to 21st-century Americans.

The Gibeonites, …

Announcing the 10th Annual Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Announcing the 10th Annual Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize

Awarded Annually to the Poem that Best Evokes Connection to Place

Zócalo is delighted to announce that we are now accepting submissions for the 10th annual Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize. The deadline for entries will close on January 29, 2021.

Since …