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Spring 2021 ︎ SUNY Purchase ︎ (DES3240) Design Issues



I love my family; but like…in the truest sense of the word. That is to say, I accept their criticism and jokes as being from people who ultimately care. I used to carry around a big ass spiral bound sketchbook all the time, and one of my cousins used to call it my “manifesto.” I secretly kinda loved it. The point of this story is that the term manifesto has a clear cultural location; the product of someone who has an “agenda.” However, I think you can also see a definite aspirational “stance” in manifestos. 

Choices for Required Readings

(Please note, do not do a book report. Pick a long one or several short ones, try to find associations between them. Give yourself time to look at related material or analysis or interpretation of them. )

Questions to think about while looking at one or more manifestos

  • Why do dictators and problematic white folks need manifestos?
  • Is the “centralized urgency” of the manifesto still appealing? Necessary? Relevant?
  • Do centralized (aesthetic) ideas help homogonize visual culture? Is that a dangerous direction?

Further reading/viewing

Things discussed in class

The Paranoid Style in American Politics︎ I mentioned this because we talked about the position of authority that the person writing usually takes (not just as an author but agency / purpoprted understanding of a topic). The essay discusses conspiracy theories and how the theorist makes themselves the person who is the arbiter of the knowledge that is part of the conspiracy theory. That relationship I felt was similar to the manifesto form which by nature gives authority to the manifesto writer(s). 

Summary of the Communist Manifesto︎
I thought this was a good summary of the content and I thought our discussion of it up ended up being a little bit reductive.  This and the SCUM Manifesto were the main ones we talked about.

Audiobook of the Communist Manifesto︎ If you prefer to consume the content that way.

Other stuff I didn’t really have much else, but I think that I was concerned about coming off like I was pushing the SCUM Manifesto or forcing that content on anyone. I was more interested in an idea of talking about manifestos in general. 

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