The specialisation in Book and Digital Media Studies focuses on the dynamic process of the transmission of knowledge and information through analogue (print) and electronic (internet) media. You study both the historical development – from Gutenberg to Gates – and the modern practice of textual communication within its societal and technological context. Much attention is given to the far-reaching consequences of the digital revolution for the world of the book.
The unique character of this MA programme draws students from all over the world.
The programme is the only one of its kind in the Netherlands and covers the entire history and present practice of textual transmission from manuscript to the Internet. Following this programme will give you access to a number of unique facilities, including:
The aim of the programme is to ensure you have an in-depth knowledge of the history and modern practice of text transmission—manuscripts, printing and recent digital developments. You will also graduate with detailed knowledge of all relevant issues and academic skills and insights regarding the field of book studies.
“There are striking parallels between the invention of book printing and the introduction of the internet: Johannes Gutenberg and Bill Gates have a lot in common.”
“When I was studying history in Leiden, I read a book that put forward a challenging hypothesis about the relationship between the invention of printing and the Renaissance, Reformation and new science. Since then, my interest in the subject has never waned and I decided to become a book historian. This passion is what I want to communicate to my students.
Throughout the whole world you can see a growing interest in the role and significance of the written and printed word, both now and in earlier times. This is undoubtedly related to the far-reaching communications revolution which we are currently experiencing as a result of the advent of digital media.
There are striking parallels between the invention of book printing and the introduction of the internet, for example with regard to their influence on society and culture, the position of the author or the effect of censorship. Johannes Gutenberg and Bill Gates have a lot in common.
This master’s is characterised by the interaction between the present and the past: we treat the history of the written and printed word in close relation to present-day developments in the world of the book and digital media.
In addition, Leiden has fantastic resources available in our field, all within easy reach: the University Library, the Bibliotheca Thysiana, many museums, but also renowned book shops and publishing houses, such as Koninklijke Brill, which has been in existence since 1683.”