Features

Leaving Home

In “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane,” Li-yan is a young woman who cultivates tea plants in China’s Yunnan Province with her extended family who are part of a Chinese ethnic minority known as the Akha. In this excerpt, Li-yan secretly travels to a nearby city to leave her infant, Yan-yeh, born out of wedlock, at an orphanage. In the family’s mountain village, Li-yan’s fatherless daughter would be killed in accordance with Akha custom. In addition to giving Yan-yeh life, Li-yan wraps a tea cake, a talisman of their family’s culture, in Yan-yeh’s blanket.

American Limbo

On Nov. 30, 2016, the presidents of 27 U.S. Jesuit universities promised to “protect to the fullest extent of the law undocumented students” on their campuses and to promote the retention of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Just weeks later, the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference did the same. We asked an alumna who came to the United States as a 10-year-old with her parents to share her experiences and her hopes for her and her family’s future. To shield her from possible deportation, her identity is purposely being withheld.

What You See

The conflict between government and the Fourth Estate that Americans now witness is illuminating the relationship between politics and information. What happens to a representative political system when truth and reality become contested, or even subverted, by actors within the institution itself? Political chaos is a sorry and dangerous state of affairs in a nation’s life. Informational chaos may be equally threatening to an open, democratic society.

Muslim U.S.A.

During the 2016 U.S. election process, fear of Muslims became a thread used to tie terrorists and extremists to suspicion of Muslim Americans. Here at LMU, Muslims have been participating in and contributing to the university’s culture for some time. We asked some to describe their faith, lives and experience in the United States. If we fear what we do not know, let this be an introduction.—The Editor

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Jumping Time

What are we supposed to do in life and how do we figure out how to do it? Los Angeles writer Lynell George ’84 has been talking with L.A. artists about the fault line between seeing the path of one’s life and staying on it. She tells us what she’s seen and learned.

Hunger Strike: Francis Lawrence ’91, Director of “Mockingjay – Part 2”

“The Hunger Games,” in film as well as in print, has ignited the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe with its vision of a violent, authoritarian government that wages war against its people. Francis Lawrence ’91, director of “Mockingjay – Part 2,” discussed with critic David L. Ulin the fictional dystopia whose political conflict mirrors struggles taking place in the world today.—The Editor

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Disturbing Arts: A Conversation with Dana Gioia

Dana Gioia’s words have started arguments. His 1991 article, “Can Poetry Matter?”, sparked a national discussion about poetry, and his 2013 essay about the state of Catholic writing, “The Catholic Writer Today,” launched another debate. As a poet, arts advocate and chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (2003–09), he has shaped America’s cultural life for more than 20 years. Editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch interviewed Gioia about art, literature and faith.