Text, Textuality and Digital Media

By Prof. Arjun Ghosh   |   IIT Delhi
Learners enrolled: 449
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        

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

PREREQUISITES:         10+2   
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit Points : 3
Level : Undergraduate
Start Date : 25 Jul 2022
End Date : 14 Oct 2022
Enrollment Ends : 08 Aug 2022
Exam Date : 30 Oct 2022 IST

Note: This exam date is subjected to change based on seat availability. You can check final exam date on your hall ticket.

Page Visits

Course layout

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 

Instructor bio

Prof. Arjun Ghosh

IIT Delhi
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)

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 30 October 2022 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras .It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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