• Essay

    What the Path of Curry Tells Us About Globalization

    Courtesy of the British Empire, the Spice Was Used to Pay Indian Workers Brought to South America to Replace African Slaves

    By Lizzie Collingham

    One Sunday morning in 1993, “Bushman,” “Spider,” “Tall Boy,” and “Crab Dog” were gathered at a rum shop in the Guyanese coastal village of Mahaica. The rainy season had driven these Afro-Guyanese diamond miners out of the interior, and they …

  • Essay

    Before You Push That Big Nuclear Button, Consider the Source

    From Intentional Hoaxes to Accidental Alerts, Our Interconnectedness Makes Us Vulnerable to Fear

    By Robert Bartholomew

    Shortly after 8 a.m. on January 13, 2018, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent out a chilling alert to residents across the state of Hawaii: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT …

  • Essay

    What Benjamin Franklin Ate When He Was Homesick

    Living Abroad, the Founder From Philadelphia Saw America's Essence in Turkeys, Succotash, and Cranberries

    By Rae Katherine Eighmey

    In the midst of the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin envisioned the turkey as an exemplar of the ideal American citizen. In a 1783 letter home to his daughter Sally, written …

  • Connecting California

    Could a New River City Transform California?

    Along the San Joaquin, Madera County Is Building Thousands of New Homes—and Perhaps Shaping the State's Next Great Region

    By Joe Mathews

    Could the San Joaquin River, long a dividing line in the heart of California, unite the state in pursuit of a more metropolitan future for the Central Valley? ...

New at Zócalo

By Elizabeth Bucar

In 2018, Islamic clothing is officially cool. CoverGirl has a hijabi ambassador. H&M sells a popular modest clothing line. Even Barbie wears a headscarf on a doll modeled after the American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.
   Despite this cool factor, Islamic women’s headscarves and clothing retain strong associations with piety and politics, symbolism that is wielded both by the woman in the clothes and the people around her. In countries where Muslims are minorities, as in the United States, merely wearing hijab is seen as a political act, albeit one that can be interpreted in many ways. Shepard Fairey created an image of a woman wearing a flag hijab as a sign of tolerance and inclusivity ...

In Whose God Do Americans Trust?

How the Religious Right Projected Evangelical Conservatism Onto the Founding Fathers

By Matthew Bowman

Charles Bennett, a Democratic Congressman from Jacksonville, Florida, was afraid of communism. In July 1955, he spoke of his concerns on the floor of the House of Representatives. “In these days, when imperialistic and materialistic communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, we should continually look for ways to strengthen the foundations of our freedom,” he told his fellow members of Congress. Bennett’s proposed solution was simple: Americans could add the phrase “In God We Trust” to their dollar bills. By consensus, Congress adopted Bennett’s resolution.
    Americans’ ready embrace of the phrase in ...

Connecting California/Joe Mathews

  • Could These Four 'Lady Bird' Sequels Save Sacramento?

    Greta Gerwig Has Promised a Quartet of Films About Her Hometown, and California's Capital Needs New Narratives

    Here’s the good news in Sacramento: “Lady Bird,” a coming-of-age film set in Sacramento—and written and directed by the California capital’s own Greta Gerwig—has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture.
       Here’s the better news for Sacramento: Gerwig, having achieved such success with ...

  • O Canada, Please Colonize the Coachella Valley

    Snowbirds Have Saved SoCal's Desert Economy. Why Not Just Deed Them the Land?

    Let’s give the Coachella Valley to Canada.
        After all, Canadians already run the place in winter.
        Over the past 40 years, snowbirds from the True North have grown into a winter fixture in greater Palm Springs. They get a lot more than an escape from cold winter weather. The California desert is a much shorter flight than Maui, and it offers an array of arts and ...

  • Will Los Angeles Tear Down the Walls That Keep It Apart From Latin America?

    By Standing up to Trump and Letting People Move Freely, We Could Become a True LA-LA Land

    Los Angeles is a great many things, but it is not Latin America.
        Such a statement should be as uncontroversial as a map of the Western hemisphere. But today, elite conventional wisdom runs the other way.
        Lewis D’Vorkin, the editor of the ...

Video Highlights

  • Los Angeles has a Spanish-language name, a distinctly Latino ambience, and a mayor who puffs up with pride whenever he talks about his family’s Mexican roots. Yet it’s also a city where most people of Latin American heritage are native-born, not immigrants, and where recent waves of ...