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MA in New Humanities and Design

Pathway : Technology and Change

This affective crisis, which also inhabits a geography that is not uniform, planetary, or universal, needs to be fully engaged by those who seek to design the future, or even to design for the future, taking account of the fact that the future is not a blank space for the inscription of technocratic enlightenment or for nature’s long-term oscillations, but a space for democratic design that must begin with the recognition that the future is a cultural fact.” - Arjun Appadurai, (Future as a Cultural Fact, 2013)

The goal is to enable potential researchers and practitioners to investigate and critique the nature of social change, technology and development in India using a range of interrelated perspectives, creating an intellectually exciting environment for research.

The last few decades in India have been characterized by major transformations in the economy, culture, politics, environment and technologies. Liberalization and the IT revolution have brought economic prosperity to certain sections of the population against the backdrop of continuing acute poverty, as well as serious contestations over the nature of development in the country.  Much of this change has been driven by technological development and intervention, which in India, like much of the global south, is characterized by both state-driven and corporate machineries as well as indigenous creativity and improvisation. The unique nature of this landscape demands specific, contextually informed inquiries, which challenge existing paradigms that shape the study of these developments in the West, using diverse methodologies and theoretical frameworks drawn from disciplines such as:

  • Digital humanities and critical making
  • Anthropology and sociology
  • Design
  • Political science
  • History
  • Gender studies
  • Science and Technology Studies

This specialization will facilitate potential researchers and practitioners to think beyond traditional forms of knowledge making such as the written dissertation, and encourage them to use different modes of inquiry such as filmmaking, art installations, material practices and creation of digital artifacts.

Course Structure

  • Disciplinary Studies
  • Trans-disciplinary Projects
  • Theory and Understanding Units
  • Practice
  • Self-Directed Inquiry/Research
  • Knowledge Enhancement (Ability or Skills)

Learning Approach

An active, collaborative, and practice-oriented approach guides the learning in this course. It combines theoretical and philosophical texts with an individual learner’s unique practice. The practice here is rather a way of inquiry, where art, design, and first-hand observations and analysis come together to construct independent formulation of knowledge around the questions and concerns of technology and change in India and elsewhere. Students, with their unique personalities and specific learning styles, are at the center of the process. The participants of this postgraduate course will be encouraged to constantly question, critically analyze and look through different lenses on the current and emerging practices of technology and change, through experiential learning and reflection, both collaborative and independent.

Capability Sets

  1. Make connections by understanding contexts: Read and critique technologies and infrastructures through a socio-political lens, remaining alert to geographical and local conditions.
  2. Recognise relationships: Analyse and unpack the reciprocal relationship between design of digital technologies/infrastructures and societal change.
  3. Make Visible: Employ making to construct arguments through a range of media, as a way to make hidden assumptions, possibilities, and implications visible.
  4. Transparency & Integrity: Be aware of and transparent in articulating one’s individual position with respect to social, cultural, and political implications of digital technology and societal change.
  5. Understand complexity: Read, parse and interpret concepts in relation to both policy and practice of governance and development.


The capability sets equip and prepare the student for a wide range of opportunities, including,

  1. Pursuing doctoral research,
  2. Holding positions in policy-making and advocacy,
  3. Educators, journalists and commentators,
  4. Social entrepreneurs and creative practitioners in the private sector or development sector organizations and donor agencies.

Disciplinary Intersections

The program is informed by the following disciplines: