February 22, 2021
Content warning: This article includes mentions of sexual assault.
Northwestern’s Asian Pacific Islands Desi American Affiliate Group discussed the victim culture that blames victims of sexual assault, especially on college campuses, after reading “Know My Name” by Chanel Miller.
The APIDA Book of the Quarter is co-organized with the University’s Asian American Studies program to showcase the contemporary works of Asian American authors. The January 26 discussion is part of four series of readings organized by Multicultural Students Affairs. Community members of these series reflect and discuss a work by an author who shares their identity.
The APIDA Book of the Quarter is co-organized with the University’s Asian American Studies program to showcase the contemporary works of Asian American authors.
Christine Munteanu, deputy director of the MSA team, said the discussion about the book aims to encourage inclusion, awareness and resonance among students and faculty at the University.
“Through MSA’s book clubs, we aim to improve the lived experiences of marginalized communities,” says Munteanu. “We also hope that students can connect and see themselves reflected in the stories, themes and authors we explore and provide a space to make meaning together.”
MSA runs three other cultural reading groups in conjunction with APIDA Book of the Quarter. The Indigenous Reading Series challenges students to explore the perspectives of Indigenous peoples through literature. The Queer Book Club, co-organized with the Gender and Sexuality Studies program, recently discussed the queer love story “Little Blue Encyclopedia.”
The Latinx Book Club is the latest in the series, which unlike the others announces the book months before the event, giving students time to reflect on the work.
Varying the types of work itself is also a key consideration. Not only does this provide variety for discussions, but it also makes reading more manageable for busy students, Munteanu said.
“We read novels, short stories, poetry and graphic novels – we also try to select books that aren’t too long so they feel accessible and students can read them in addition to all the other schoolwork and readings they may have,” Munteanu said.
Weinberg senior Emily Wang, who has participated in both APIDA and Indigenous book clubs, said the respectful and inviting environment makes the book series stand out.
“I think one of the best things about the way MSA runs their book clubs is that I can just share what I’m comfortable sharing and the discussion isn’t aggressive at all,” he said. said Wang. “Sharing your story in this environment is such a relief.”
Medill’s second student, Nick Song, said affinity-based events, like the series of readings, play an important role in keeping students connected to their backgrounds.
“When talking to people who share parts of my identity, I don’t have to explain the nuance or the context of everything I share,” Song said.
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