Call for Participants and Papers: Manifesting the 21st Century Manifesto in Nordic Public Spheres

The inaugural conference and workshop of the international Manifesting the 21st Century Manifesto (MANIFEST) network, 20-21 April 2023, Aarhus, Denmark.
Call for Participants and Papers

Manifesting the 21st Century Manifesto in Nordic Public Spheres Conference and Workshop

Aarhus University, Denmark 20-21 April 2023

Deadline: 10th February 2023

The manifesto plays a unique role in Western public and political life. From the US Declaration of Independence to far-right terrorist manifestos, Silicon Valley start-up mission statements to the social movement manifestos of 20th century modernity, these declarative documents for a new world order exist both as a textual expression and as a response to historical and contemporary political landscapes. And yet, despite this rich text’s resurgence in the 21st century, the manifesto remains a critically unexamined artifact of modern deliberative democracies. In this tense political and social climate, this gap leaves a significant hole in understanding how social action is taking place in the 21st century mediatised West. Moreover, there is a critical need to explore the manifesto beyond Anglo-American neoliberal capitalist democracies, and to examine how it functions specifically in both national and regional Nordic public spheres. It is therefore these gaps that this conference and workshop aims to fill.

This call for papers is looking for participants for the inaugural 2-day conference and workshop of the international Manifesting the 21st Century Manifesto (MANIFEST) network. The idea is to bring together participants from the humanities and the social sciences in a comparative examination and applied inquiry of the manifesto as it functions in the West more broadly. This then will be used as the foundation to explore its specificities within national and regional Nordic landscapes.We therefore welcome presentations on a variety of key issues including, but not limited to:

  • What are the rhetorical capabilities of the manifesto as a genre?
  • Are manifestos solely a written text? What role does visuals, graphics, and other multimodal devices play in the persuasive capabilities of these texts? 
  • How can manifestos generate social action in the networked public sphere?
  • What role does history and/or cultural memory play in the manifesto?
  • How is identity constituted through this type of text?
  • What are the intersections between manifestos and digital platforms?
  • What makes a manifesto a manifesto?
  • How can we read the new forms of solo manifestos?
  • Are there inherent differences amongst the Nordic countries that can be seen through their manifestos?
  • Does a twitter thread count as a manifesto?
  • What role does social media play in the spread of ideas that culminate in an official text?
  • How does the manifesto intersect with different political ideologies in the West?
  • How is it possible to measure or test what manifests do?
  • Does the manifesto, as both a genre and a text, look and interact differently in both individual and collective Nordic publics?

MANIFEST already has committed participants from different Nordic universities across a number of fields including rhetoric, history of ideas, Nordic/Scandinavian studies, and linguistics. We are now recruiting further participants within both the humanities and social sciences for this two day event. The event is as follows:

  • The first day is a conference where participants can deliver a 15 minute presentation addressing these questions to a larger audience including scholars and students from across Aarhus University. Presentations will then be followed by plenary discussion.
  • On the second day, a closed session workshop will see participants using the conversations from day one to explore this genre specifically in relation to Nordic publics and the welfare state as a unique political and cultural region within the West.

The aims of the planned workshop are (a) to share ideas and research results related to manifestos; b) to establish an international network on manifesto research; c) to use this network to initiate work on shared projects and publications. The working language of MANIFEST is English.

Funding for this event is provided through a grant from the ReNEW (Reimagining the Nordics in an Evolving World) research hub. The event is free to attend, with three meals a day, refreshments, and an evening dinner on the 20th.


Please send letters of interest, a 300 word abstract (if you wish to present) and a brief bio to Marcia Clare Allison by the 10th February 2023.