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Stoll, Jeremy. "Follow the River of Stories: Comics, folk culture, and social justice in delhi." PhD Diss. Indiana University, 2012. 
Added by: joachim (1/24/18, 1:57 PM)   
Resource type: Thesis/Dissertation
Language: en: English
BibTeX citation key: Stoll2012
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Categories: General
Keywords: Ethnography, Folklore, India, Pao Collective, Production, Social criticism
Creators: Stoll
Publisher: Indiana University (Bloomington)
Views: 60/974
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Follow the River of Stories illustrates the importance of visual narratives as a form of social commentary on development and social injustice in contemporary India, which is the world’s fourth largest producer of comic books and graphic novels. Little research has been done on India’s thriving comics culture, beyond several studies of the series Amar Chitra Katha, or Immortal Picture Stories, which only published regularly until the late 1980’s. In contrast, this study focuses on the recent rise of graphic novels through the lens of one artists’ group, the Pao Collective, who argue for comics as an independent art form. In the process, I demonstrate the power of these visual narratives through an ethnographic approach utilizing participant observation and in-depth interviews. Accordingly, this research is based upon fieldwork performed in 2010, during which I interviewed and worked with artists, writers, editors, publishers, and readers in New Delhi. Grounded throughout by the voices of Pao’s members, I investigate how Delhi’s comics creators push for a reorientation of communities around local contexts and increasing social awareness. I begin by historicizing the comics medium in India, and then work toward a definition of comics built upon the experiences and critical responses of individual creators. I then explore how these creators construct their narratives through appeals to folk culture in order to build and sustain community. Finally, I point out how these artists and authors are able to increase social awareness through their storytelling, with a focus on environmental issues in particular. My dissertation thus links social resistance to the creation of visual narratives and communities that organize around those stories. Accordingly, my work shows the importance of interdisciplinary scholarship in understanding how communities engage with globalization and social and environmental injustice.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction (1)
India’s Comics Culture (4)
Scholarship of India’s Comics (6)
A Folkloristic Approach (10)
The Pao Collective (14)
More than Words and Pictures Combined (21)
Celebrating Comics in Delhi (23)

2. A Creator’s History of Comics (27)
Amitabh Kumar (28)
The Roots of the Comics Form in India (32)
Western Comics and Education (36)
Nationalism and the Amar Chitra Katha Series (39)
Bahadur, Tinkle, and the Appeal to Everyday Life (42)
Regionalization and the Superhero Genre (45)
Creating the Comics Shelf (48)
The Pao Collective Returns (51)
A History of Creative Excellence (53)

3. Defining the Form (58)
Parismita Singh (59)
Comics as Language (63)
The Graphic Novel (68)
The Dangers of Comics (74)
Comics as Storytelling (76)
The Limits of the Graphic Novel (79)
Comics as Practice (82)
A Definition of Comics (84)

4. Mastering the Form (89)
Criticizing Comics (91)
Comics Creator as Auteur (96)
Comics Creator as Master Storyteller (101)
A Special Comics Story (107)
Transformative Potential (111)
Social Responsibility (115)
Masters of the Comics Form (121)
Stories with the Spice of Life (126)

5. The Appeal to Folk Culture (130)
Sarnath Banerjee (132)
What is Folklore? (135)
Indian Comics Tradition (141)
Why Folk Culture? (145)
Finding Meaning (151)
Why Comics? (156)
The Localization of Comics Storytelling (160)Telling Stories about Human Experience (164)

6. Creativity and Community (168)
Orijit Sen (170)
The Process of Visual Storytelling (172)
Parts of the Whole (176)
The Individual in Creativity (183)
Technology and Community (186)
Delhi Comics Community (189)
Finding a Way to Thrive (193)

7. Illustrating Social Awareness (196)
Vishwajyoti Ghosh (199)
Storytelling for Communities (202)
The Power to Support Creativity (205)
A Tradition of Individual Invention (208)
The Power to Educate and Inculcate (211)
Overcoming Difficulties (214)
The Power to Unite and Divide (218)
Reaching Out through Storytelling (219)
The Power to Tell Stories Responsibly (223)
Socially Active Comics (228)
Building Just Communities (231)

8. Conclusion (236)
The Insights of the Pao Collective (238)
Counting Our Losses (243)
Pull Back the Curtain (245)

Bibliography (247)
Images (266)

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