Centre for Internet & Society

Making Humanities in the Digital: Embodiment and Framing in Bichitra and Indiancine.ma

by Sneha PP

The growth of the internet and digital technologies in the last couple of decades, and the emergence of new ‘digital objects’ of enquiry has led to a rethinking of research methods across disciplines as well as innovative modes of creative practice. This chapter discusses some of the questions that arise around the processes by which digital objects are ‘made’ and made available for arts and humanities research and practice, by drawing on recent work in text and film archival initiatives in India. Through an exploration of an online film archive, Indiancine.ma, and a digital variorum of Rabindranath Tagore’s works, Bichitra, developed at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, the chapter engages with the processes of making and studying digital objects as creative and analytical, affective, and embodied. Drawing also on observations from a study on mapping digital humanities work in India, the chapter explores conceptual and material processes of the digital to understand how they affect research and practice in the humanities. These also allow for a new perspectives to understand the condition of digitality we inhabit today, as well as the possibilities it offers for the humanities.

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Information Infrastructures, State, and Citizens: An Initial Literature Survey

by Khetrimayum Monish Singh, Ranjit Singh, Palashi Vaghela, and Nazifa Ahmed

Our approach to unpacking the nature of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) as an information infrastructure is centered on how it mediates the relationship between the Indian state and its citizens. In this sense, an information infrastructure is not end in itself, rather it is a means to an end. In our case, the end is the eventual differentiation between citizens and immigrants in Assam and the updated NRC is the means to practically achieve it. As the updated NRC is put to use, it simultaneously creates a particular conception of what the Indian state looks like and defines a new terrain of making claims to citizenship. By extension, it creates a new form of Indian citizenship enacted by tuples of data stored in the updated NRC. Thus, while paying close attention to the historical narratives of identity politics in Assam (Baruah 1999; Hazarika 1994; Roy 2010), our initial survey of literature speaks to the nature of this mediation. We focus on how scholars in a diversity of fields, ranging from Information Science (IS) and Science and Technology Studies (STS) to Anthropology and Political Science, have engaged with how state infrastructures mediate the state-citizen relationship. We have divided this literature survey into three parts and we will specify the questions that we would like to ask of our field at the end of each part.

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Life of a Tuple: National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Reform of Citizen Identification Infrastructure in Assam

by Sumandro Chattapadhyay

We are proud to announce that a research grant from the Azim Premji University has enabled us to initiate a study of the ongoing updation process of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam and the resultant reform of citizen identification infrastructure in India. The study is being led by Khetrimayum Monish Singh and Ranjit Singh, along with Sumandro Chattapadhyay. Here we present an initial brief about the study.

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Exploring Big Data for Development: An Electricity Sector Case Study from India

by Sumandro Chattapadhyay

This working paper by Ritam Sengupta, Dr. Richard Heeks, Sumandro Chattapadhyay, and Dr. Christopher Foster draws from the field study undertaken by Ritam Sengupta, and is published by the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester. The field study was commissioned by the CIS, with support from the University of Manchester and the University of Sheffield.

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Evaluating Safety Buttons on Mobile Devices: Preview

by Rohini Lakshané and Chinmayi S.K.

Much technological innovation for women is aimed at addressing violence against women. One such ubiquitous intervention is mobile device-based safety applications, also known as emergency applications. Several police departments in India, public transport services, and commercial services such as taxi-hailing apps deploy a mobile device-based “panic button” for the safety of citizens or customers, especially women. However, the proliferation of safety apps through both public and private players raises several concerns, which will be studied through this study by Rohini Lakshané of the CIS and Chinmayi S.K. of The Bachchao Project. Research assistance for this report was provided by CIS intern Harish R.S.K. Visualisations by Saumyaa Naidu.

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Digital transitions in the newsroom: How are Indian language papers adapting differently?

by Zeenab Aneez

In a new report published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Centre for Internet and Society, Zeenab Aneez explores how Indian newsrooms are adapting their workflow and processes to cater to an increasing digital audience and the implications these changes have on how journalists produce news.

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Indian Newspapers' Digital Transition

by Zeenab Aneez

This report examines the digital transition underway at three leading newspapers in India, the Dainik Jagran in Hindi, English-language Hindustan Times, and Malayala Manorama in Malayalam. Our focus is on how they are changing their newsroom organisation and journalistic work to expand their digital presence and adapt to a changing media environment. The report comes out of a collaboration between the CIS and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford, and was supported by the latter. The research was undertaken by Zeenab Aneez, with contributions from Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Vibodh Parthasarathi, and Sumandro Chattapadhyay.

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Who Owns Your Phone?

by Nishant Shah

The capacity of companies to defy standards that work tells an alarming story of what we lose when we lose control of our devices.

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Digital Transition in Newspapers in India: A Pilot Study

by Zeenab Aneez

This pilot study situates itself at the intersection of global trends in news and journalism, and emergent practises of legacy print media in India. Our aim is to explore how legacy print newspapers are transitioning to the online space. The study will address questions in two thematic clusters: 1) the work of journalism, and 2) how the emergence of the digital, both as a source of news, and the medium of distribution, is shaping the work of newspaper journalists.

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RBI and Regulation of Digital Financial Services in India, 2012-2016

by Shivalik Chandan

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) published its first guideline on mobile banking in 2008, and the conversation on integrating Aadhaar numbers with bank account numbers on one hand and mobile numbers on the other started as soon as UIDAI was established. However, it is the post-2010 period, with rapid growth of the e-commerce sector in India, that saw rise of digital financial services and intermediaries, and hence the demand for regulatory intervention in the sector. This essay by Shivalik Chandan tracks RBI policies and guidelines responding to and shaping the regulatory framework of the digital financial sector in India, including both mobile banking and online transactions.

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