Text, Textuality and Digital Media


Prof. Arjun Ghosh

IIT Delhi

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SKU: IIT Delhi Category:



The emergence of digital means of communication and representation is transforming the way human beings assimilate and engage with knowledge. To understand this process this course will study the evolution of language, narratives and representation through the history of technologies of communication – oral, written, print and the digital. It will explore concepts of copyright, censorship, authorship, nation formation. Students would engage in debates surrounding blogging, facebook, google, twitter, instagram, video games, wikipedia and other forms of electronic texts. Students who have already completed a Literature course are likely to benefit from the experience


Those interested in studying the history of the book and the onset of digital media




Prof. Arjun works on the politics of performance and mobilisation, copyright and intellectual property, new media and the internet. He was formerly a Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla and currently teaches at IIT Delhi. He is the author of A History of the Jana Natya Manch: Plays For the People (Sage, 2012) and Freedom from Profit: Eschewing Copyright in Resistance Art (IIAS, 2014) and an annotated translation of Nabanna (Rupa, 2018)


Additional information



Total hours


Certification Process

1. Join the course
Learners may pay the applicable fees and enrol to a course on offer in the portal and get access to all of its contents including assignments. Validity of enrolment, which includes access to the videos and other learning material and attempting the assignments, will be mentioned on the course. Learner has to complete the assignments and get the minimum required marks to be eligible for the certification exam within this period.

COURSE ENROLMENT FEE: The Fee for Enrolment is Rs. 3000 + GST

2. Watch Videos+Submit Assignments
After enrolling, learners can watch lectures and learn and follow it up with attempting/answering the assignments given.

3. Get qualified to register for exams
A learner can earn a certificate in the self paced course only by appearing for the online remote proctored exam and to register for this, the learner should get minimum required marks in the assignments as given below:

Assignment score = Score more than 50% in at least 9/12 assignments.
Exam score = 50% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100
Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.”

4. Register for exams
The certification exam is conducted online with remote proctoring. Once a learner has become eligible to register for the certification exam, they can choose a slot convenient to them from what is available and pay the exam fee. Schedule of available slot dates/timings for these remote-proctored online examinations will be published and made available to the learners.

EXAM FEE: The remote proctoring exam is optional for a fee of Rs.1500 + GST. An additional fee of Rs.1500 will apply for a non-standard time slot.

5. Results and Certification
After the exam, based on the certification criteria of the course, results will be declared and learners will be notified of the same. A link to download the e-certificate will be shared with learners who pass the certification exam.


Course Details

Week 1:  Understanding Media
Week 2: Orality and Literacy
Week 3:  Oral an Manuscript Cultures
Week 4:  Manuscript to Print
Week 5: The Consequences of Print
Week 6: Print and Nationalism
Week 7: Colonialism and Print in India
Week 8: Photography, Flims and Television
Week 9: Electronic Literature
Week 10: Copyright
Week 11: Digital Media and the Mind
Week 12: Social Media and the Future

Books and References

  1. Marshall McLuhan. “The Medium is the Message” (from Understanding Media)
  2. Marshall McLuhan. The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man. Toronto. University of Toronto Press, 2011. pages 11-18, 31-32, 137-41
  3. Walter J. Ong. ‘The modern discovery of primary oral cultures’ in Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. London and New York, Routledge, 1982. 16-30.
  4. Walter Ong. “Writing is a Technology” Christopher De Hamel. ‘Illuminators, Binders and Booksellers’ in Scribes and Illuminators. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2013. 45-70.
  5. Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin. ‘The ‘Discovery’ of Printing’ and ‘The Chinese Precedent’ in The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450-1800. Calcutta, Seagull Books, 2006. 50-58 and 75-82.
  6. Robert Darnton. ‘What is the history of books?’ Daedalus 111(3): 65-83.
  7. Anderson, Benedict. ‘The Origins of National Consciousness’ in Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Verso, 1991. 37-46.
  8. Raymond Williams. ‘The technology and the society’ in Television: Technology and Cultural Form. New York, Schocken Books, 1975. 9-31.
  9. David J. Bolter. “Seeing and Writing” in The New Media Reader “Electronic Literature: What is it?”.
  10. Robert Coover. “The End of Books” in The New Media Reader
  11. Richard Stallman. “The GNU Manifesto” in The New Media Reader
  12. Lawrence Lessig. ‘Chapter Twelve: Harms’. Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. Penguin Press 2004. 183-212.
  13. Arjun Ghosh. “Censorship through Copyright: From print to digital media” in Social Scientist vol. 41. nos. 1-2 January-February 2013
  14. Nicholas Carr. ‘The Juggler’s Brain’ in The Shallows: How the internet is changing the way we think, read and remember. London, Atlantic Books, 2010. 115-120; 126-129.
  15. Scott Galloway. “Google: Our Modern Day God” in Four
  16. Zeynep Tufekci. Twitter and Tear Gas


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