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Intergalactic Superheroism across the Globe

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This event at 12.30 on 7 November 2019 at the RSA will premiere a new film, Dishoom India, by Raminder Kaur FRSA and Tarun Jasani and a panel discussion.

Superheroes bring to mind caped crusaders such as Superman, Batman, or Captain America. The more gender attuned foreground Wonderwoman among other avatars. Those looking eastwards might highlight Japanese characters from Manga.

But what about other cultural repertoires of intergalactic superheroes/heroines? How do other young people engage with illustrations, storytelling and imaginaries of superheroism?

Too often cultural examples from the global south are seen through a western or Eurocentric lens. There is a need to appreciate other comic books and youth cultures on their own terms in conversation with other cultural trends on an equal footing as part of connected yet culturally distinctive communities. Indeed comic books provide a fascinating lens to consider the cultural outputs of an emerging Asian power.

So far one only hears about India's space exploration, moon mission, nuclear submarines and other attempts to become a regional superpower. Fantasies to become a global and even intergalactic superpower are strikingly evident in superhero/ine stories that adds other fascinating, and perhaps disturbing, layers of cultural meaning to real-life ventures.

The event draws upon anthropological and comic studies research that informs the book, Adventure Comics and Youth Cultures in India (by Raminder Kaur and Saif Eqbal, Routledge). It is linked to a new play, Terror, the real-life tale of Faraaz Hossain’s heroic stand against violent militants in a Bangladeshi café in July 2016. The play is written by Raminder Kaur, produced by Sohaya Visions and Mukul and Ghetto Tigers and funded by Arts Council England as part of A Season of Bangla Drama. It is to be performed at 7pm on 7-8  November at Pinter Studio, QMUL

The film and panel is funded by the #ESRCFestival of Social Science; and supported by Raj Comics, Diamond Comics, University of Sussex Asia Centre, Sohaya Visions, Inward Arts, Mukul and Ghetto Tigers, Tamarind Theatre, A Season of Bangla Drama, Megan McMichael at University of Sussex, and Christopher Pinney at University College London. For further details, email rk39@sussex.ac.uk or contact @SohayaV on Twitter

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