Multicultural Center launches new book club

Ball State has a new club, courtesy of the Multicultural Center.

The Multicultural Center Book Club held its first meeting Wednesday, Sept. 8 in the center’s multipurpose room. While attendance was low, attendees and organizers were excited for the group’s potential.

“Knowing that the book is about feminism is also really important to me, because I've never really thought about women's rights and all that, other than just from history class, but from the #MeToo movement, I really kind of got into it. And reading the book will give me a deeper perspective on the whole issue,” said Thienmy Nguyen, freshman biology major.

The club’s first book of the year is Mikki Kendall’s 2020 book “Hood Feminism,” which outlines the ways intersectional feminism is integral to the feminist movement as a whole.

The first 15 students who attended the event were eligible for a free copy of the book, though the first event was geared toward engaging with the material through activities and discussions among new members. One such activity was the “Hood Feminism Passport,” a series of activities that could be completed for stamps on a small passport to show members’ completion of the activities.

“The objective of the passport is for participants to be engaged with the themes of the book, so in ‘Hood Feminism,’ it focuses primarily on the ideas of feminism, intersectionality and moving from being an ally to being an accomplice,” said Casey Gargano, Multicultural Center graduate assistant who helped organize the club.

Fellow graduate assistant Tatyanna Jordan said conversations about starting a book club based on texts about diversity and inclusion have been a long time coming.

“We and [Multicultural Center Director Bobby Steele] have been kind of pondering on it the past couple of semesters — they've been wanting to host it, but obviously, because of COVID and things like that, it didn't really kind of take off,” Jordan said. “They made sure that book club was one of those top priorities for us to host.”

Jordan said one of the reasons “Hood Feminism” was selected as the first book the group would discuss was because it provides readers with a relatable way to discuss feminism and gives a concise definition of the term.

“I really like the point that was mentioned in the invitation to come here, that it's not just about gender, but there are other problems that intersect with this like racism, so I thought that that would be like a different point of view for me to learn about,” said Maria José Torres Centurion, linguistics masters student.

Centurion said joining the club was important to her because she saw a gap in her knowledge about the topic of feminism, and reading and discussing it would help her understand the world better. 

Motivations for joining the club were wide-ranging — senior speech pathology major Rin Steitz said she hoped the event would give her more ways to engage with the feminist movement.

“I'm interested in the topic. There's a lot of things about it that can be talked about — I know in different cultures, feminism is perceived differently, so I wonder if we'll be able to talk about that, because I'm interested in how different cultures view it,” Steitz said.

The club will meet again Friday, Sept. 10 so more students can get exposure to the book and its contents, and the club will hold its first discussion meeting Sept. 30.

Contact John Lynch with comments at jplynch@bsu.edu or on Twitter @WritesLynch.

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