Mumbai, 03 November 2023: NMIMS Jyoti Dalal School of Liberal Arts (JDSoLA) organized an enriching guest session on the topic, ‘What on Earth is Book History?’, by renowned scholar, Dr Swati Moitra. The session was a part of the school’s ‘Open Space: UG Lecture Series’.
Dr. Swati Moitra is an Assistant Professor at the Department of English at Gurudas College, University of Calcutta. In her illustrious career, she has served as a distinguished faculty at prestigious educational institutions such as Shivaji College and Miranda House at the University of Delhi. Her areas of interest include book history, feminism, cultural studies, digital cultures and new media. She has authored several op-eds on her subject domain in English and Bengali languages. Dr. Moitra is a recipient of many celebrated accolades and recognitions, like the Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship 2013, the SHARP Research Development Grant for BIPOC Scholars 2022, and the Cambridge Visiting Fellowships for Scholars from the Global South 2024.
Dr. Moitra commenced the session by sharing her experiences of the Kolkata Book Festival. She provided anecdotes about the festival’s rich history and deep-rooted cultural and social connection with literature enthusiasts and the people of West Bengal.
Moving on, she discussed the advent and the rise of digital and audio books. She explained how digital literature was still fairly new to India and emphasized that printed books continued to capture the imagination of the reader. She added that traditional forms of printed literature will stay despite the rapid expansion of digital media in the last few years.
Dr. Moitra went on to discuss the basics of writing and publishing as well as the different mediums of publishing and placed specific emphasis on the significance of an author. Exploring the makings of a best-seller, the speaker also dug deep into the essence of marketing a book. Further in the session, Dr. Moitra extensively delved into the origins and the rich history of print and publishing culture in India.
Throughout the interactive and entertaining guest session, the esteemed guest used a lot of memes replete with social and cultural references that struck a chord with the young audience. The eager listeners got to explore the various aspects of publishing and a rich history of literature through the enlightening guest session.
Concluding her session, Dr. Swati Moitra shared, “It is important to note that apart from the Jadavpur University, NMIMS University is the only other university in India to teach the diverse subject of book history to its undergraduate students and I am glad to have been provided the opportunity to deliver a Guest Session on the important topic to the students of the School of Liberal Arts.”
Commenting on the success of the session, Dr. Achyut Vaze, Dean of Jyoti Dalal School of Liberal Arts, said, “It was an honour for us to host Dr. Swati Moitra at the successful Guest Session. Her rich insights on book history and the various aspects of publishing have enriched our students and helped to enhance their knowledge on the subject. School of Liberal Arts looks forward to more such enlightening sessions by guest speakers.”