A message from Professor Jill Christman about her Fall 2019 Virginia Ball Center immersive learning course:

I’m looking to assemble a team of creative thinkers from a wide variety of majors—a diverse group of students who bring their unique human experiences and share my determination to make change in rape culture using the power of stories; who can look closely at a complicated problem and see possible solutions; who are good communicators, curious researchers, empathetic listeners, and rich thinkers.

What does the course entail?

“Rape Culture in the Age of #MeToo” will begin with a crash-course in podcasting. We will then exercise our varied expertise, perspectives, and skills to investigate rape culture and sexual assault on college campuses nationally, specifically assessing the climate here at Ball State, and asking why—when so many well-intentioned people, programs, and policies are working so hard—the rate of rape or attempted rape for women during their college careers has remained at a crisis-level one-in-five for over thirty years?

I am interested in the role storytelling might play in both the healing and prevention of sexual assault on our campuses, and will guide students in collecting stories of rape culture and sexual assault on campus and producing a pilot podcast in which students use their deepened knowledge to synthesize and contextualize these narratives.

Throughout the semester, we will partner with the local nonprofit storytelling organization, The Facing Project, to gather and archive some individual stories, as well as Jana’s Campaign to be part of a national collaboration to use storytelling to light up the dark corners that allow rape culture to persist on our campuses.

Our goal

As an essayist and memoirist, and as a survivor of a campus sexual assault, I have been telling my own story for years, most recently in “Slaughterhouse Island,” published in Roxane Gay’s Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture.

The contemporary #MeToo movement is fueled by the individual and collective voices of survivors telling their own stories about rape culture and sexual violence. This intensive, immersive, interdisciplinary seminar aspires to be the campus version of that movement, examining the limitless power of finding, owning, and telling our stories with the goal of moving in the direction of permanent, real change—and safer campuses for all.

You can make a difference

I’m seeking 15 creative, engaged students from a wide variety of majors to join me in interrogating the problem of the rape culture on college campuses.

We’ll need students with varied and specific skills—recording and sound design, emerging media, website development, sociological research, voice acting, interviewing, writing, storytelling, and public speaking, to name a few—but most of all, we need people who want to work together throughout the semester as a real team on a real-world issue.

If you’re interested in taking part in this project contact Jill Christman at jcchristman@bsu.edu for more details and application information. The priority deadline for these applications is Monday, February 25th by 5 p.m.