Is “The Landscape of Digital Humanities” a manifesto? Well, to answer this question I’d have to know exactly what a manifesto is. The tricky thing here is that manifestos can take on so many different forms. They can be collaborative or personal. They can express beliefs or ideas in a multitude of different ways. They can be a page long or, like Svensson, can be written like an epic. The fact that they can be so many different things makes it difficult to discern what is and what isn’t a manifesto.
Admittedly, I am not crystal clear myself on what a manifesto is. Although we looked at multiple examples in class, each one was different in their own way. I can, however, see a pattern from them. They set up their topics before they tackle them. For example, the manifestos lay out a definition of what it is the document will be about. It summarizes a few assumptions and then delves a little further.
Now, let’s take a look at Svensson’s document. He starts off with an abstract. Okay, so we get an idea of what this is going to be about… manifestos have that. He then moves into an introduction and sets us up for the paper. After that, he moves on to the outline. wait… an outline after the introduction? At this point we can tell that it is not a traditional essay. As we progress through the paper we can see that the author breaks it down into opinionated, yet educated, aspects of digital humanities. He makes arguments and claims and tries to define the digital humanities.
So is it a manifesto? Well, based off of my little experience with manifestos I would argue that it is… and isn’t. It is a public declaration for his beliefs and he incorporates well his own experiences. It did feel almost like a novel to me, and somewhat preachy. How do we draw the line between personal essays and manifestos? It wasn’t extremely formal, does that matter at all?
I think it is a manifesto(ish).