Can A Comic Book Superhero and Rape Survivor Change Attitudes Toward Sexual Violence?

4.13.16Humanities Forum
Ram Devineni, filmmaker, publisher, and founder of Rattapallax publishing and film production company
Wednesday, April 13, 7 p.m.
Performing Arts and Humanities Building Room 132

Ram Devineni is the co-creator of the innovative and hugely popular comic book, “Priya’s Shakti,” which helps illuminate attitudes towards gender-based violence. Priya’s Shakti arose in the aftermath of a highly-publicized gang rape on a bus in New Delhi in December 2012 that outraged India and the world. The comic book centers on the Goddess Parvati and Priya, a mortal woman devotee and survivor of rape, and is rooted in ancient matriarchal traditions that have been displaced in modern representations of Hindu culture. Priya is the first Indian superhero who is a rape survivor and a powerful symbol supporting movements fighting against gender-based violence. Released only a year-ago, the comic book went viral with over 400 news stories and was honored as a “gender equality champion” by UN Women. Devineni will discuss the creation of the comic book, how comic books and their superheroes have become mythological icons, and how to re-imagine them to fight against real-life problems while still appealing to a popular audience. Since “Priya’s Shakti” was one of the first effective uses of augmented reality in a book format, Devineni will also discuss the design of that technology to bring a book to life. The comic book is a beautiful fusion of storytelling, technology, and social activism.

Ram Devineni is a filmmaker, publisher, and founder of the Rattapallax publishing and film production company. He produced, edited, and directed the feature documentary The Human Tower, which was shot in India, Chile, and Spain. Recently, he produced The Russian Woodpecker, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. He is the co-creator of the augmented reality comic book, Priya’s Shakti, which received a 2014 Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund award in partnership with the Ford Foundation.

This event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities, the Visual Arts Department, the Asian Studies Program and the Gender and Women’s Studies Department.

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