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Agents of the Book


Admission requirements

This course is a core module for students on the MA Book and Digital Media Studies (or exchange students admitted to this programme). Students from other programmes are welcome to approach the course coordinator for admission, but this will be determined on a case-by-case basis.


This course examines the roles of the various agents involved in the production, circulation and conservation of books, and, by extension, of knowledge. In the first part of the course, students will be introduced to a theoretical framework for assessing the role of such agents. They will be encouraged to evaluate key concepts and models employed in book and digital media studies, and consider their associated methodologies. In the second part of the course, students will become acquainted with the agents of the book on a theoretical-critical level (through scholarship) and on a practical level (through excursions and interviews with relevant professionals). This combination of academic-theoretical and professional-on-site encounters will contribute to forming a rounded perspective of the role played by various agents in creating past, present and future realities and potentialities of the book. Throughout, the course emphasises the cultivation of discipline-specific and transferrable skills; at its conclusion students will participate in a facilitated workshop addressing a key theme of contemporary book and digital media studies.

Course objectives

Students will learn:

  • To connect theoretical concepts and practical applications in the field of book and digital media studies.

  • To identify, reflect upon, and evaluate current issues in book and digital media studies.

  • To come into contact with a range of professional and institutional agents in the field of book and digital media studies.

  • To develop a critical understanding of the development and changing roles of libraries, publishers, booksellers, and other agents of the book in the past, present and future.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


10% active participation
20% oral presentation
70% research essay


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the written average. A sufficient grade (6.0 or above) is required in the research paper in order to pass the course.


If performance is insufficient (lower than 6.0), students may resit the research paper. There is no resit opportunity for the oral presentation or participation grade.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

A reading list will be provided at the start of the course.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal Education Administration Office


Not applicable.