New publications (June 2015-January 2016)

Publications sometimes seem to come in bursts and always with considerable time lag. I have been working on some large projects and I have had a few years with fewer publications. This is not a problem and there are many types of “deliverables” in academic work, but it is nice to see a few things actually come out. Brings closure of sorts too. This entry is a simple presentation of publications of mine (with collaborators) that came out between June 2015 and January 2016. For my own sake, but also if there are readers who may be interested in my work- work made possible through my chair at Umeå University and through being a visiting professor at the Graduate Center, City University New York (2015-2016).

During the summer of 2015 our edited volume on Between Humanities and the Digital (MIT Press, co-edited with David Theo Goldberg) came out.

MIT Press Cover

I am quite happy about this publication – the result of course (and the overall take on and vision of  the “digital humanities”), but also working with David and a group of fantastic scholars. My own chapter on the humanistiscope brings together some of my thinking on (academic) infrastructure, and was a strange and fun piece to write.


I see the concept as useful when trying to imagine what humanities infrastructure is and can be, both acknowledging a history of instrumentation and material engagement, and trying to create distance to models based on STEM or humanities conceptions of STEM.


While I have done a few collaborative academic pieces earlier, co-authorship has become much more important to my work. The edited collection with David Theo Goldberg is an example. Another intellectually stimulating and very meaningful collaboration has been together with Erica Robles-Anderson at NYU (who was a postdoc at HUMlab earlier). We have engaged in conversations about screens, presentation software and media history over time and in January 2016 one result of this collaboration came out as a publication in Computational Culture. “‘One Damn Slide After Another’: PowerPoint at Every Occasion for Speech” is a long piece on the rise of presentation culture, presentation infrastructure and the history of PowerPoint.


We also (self) published a companion piece (of sorts) on “Close Reading PowerPoint” (Medium, July 2015). Additionally I published a series of blog entries on presentation technology and culture under the rubric “Presention|Tech” (September-October 2015): “Presentation|Tech (I): Preamble”, “Presentation|Tech (II): Performing Scholarship”, “Presentation|Tech (III): Angled Screens” and “Presentation|Tech (IV): Curating events”. I will hopefully return to this series later this semester.


Academic use of presentation software and infrastructure has to do with the way we manifest and enact scholarship and knowledge, and I was happy to be asked to write a chapter on “The University as Expression” for a Swedish edited volume on the university as medium (published in December 2015). My chapter looks at how institutions of higher education manifest themselves physically and digitally (websites, buildings etc.) , and how multimodal expressions and artistic practices (e.g. academic installations) challenge institutional, educational and scholarly practices.


Finally, I am also happy to be in the New Companion to Digital Humanities (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016). My chapter, which I think is fairly provocative, has the title “Sorting Out the Digital Humanities”. It is about the current state of the field, the epistemology of digital humanities, a possible model for doing work between the humanities and the digital, and about what can be done to move from insight to changed practice (including a code of conduct and suggestions for possible changes).


Going through your own publications is a fairly self-indulging practice, but also useful in giving you an opportunity to reflect on your own production and trajectory, not least when you are in phase where there are many new large projects at an early phase. I am happy to have one more batch of publications coming out before these new projects will take much of my time over the next couple of years.

These are the publications mentioned ordered according to when they were published (roughly):

Svensson, Patrik and David Theo Goldberg (eds.). 2015. Between Humanities and the Digital. MIT Press.

Svensson, Patrik. 2015. “The Humanistiscope: Exploring the Situatedness of Humanities Infrastructure”, In Patrik Svensson and David Theo Goldberg (eds.), Between Humanities and the Digital, MIT Press.

Svensson, Patrik. 2015. “Universitetet som uttryck”, In Lindström, Matts and Wickberg Månsson, Adam (eds.), Universitetet som medium, 93-108. Mediehistoriskt arkiv.

Svensson, Patrik. 2016. “Sorting out the Digital Humanities”. In Schreibman, Susan, Siemens, Ray and John Unsworth, A New Companion to Digital Humanities. Wiley-Blackwell.

Robles-Anderson, Erica and Patrik Svensson. 2016. “‘One Damn Slide After Another’: PowerPoint at every Occasion for Speech”. Computational Culture. Issue 5.

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