The Mimetic Turn: Final International Conference on Homo Mimeticus (ERC)

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M.C. Escher, Drawing Hands

The ERC-funded project Homo Mimeticus: Theory and Criticism (HOM) hosted by the Institute of Philosophy and the Faculty of Arts at KU Leuven, Belgium, is pleased to announce its final international conference titled The Mimetic Turn (April 20-22, 2022; online; in-person option tbd). Keynotes and Invited Speakers include Rosi Braidotti, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, Vittorio Gallese, Jane Bennett, among other international figures. The deadline for submission is January 15th, 2022. CfP available here.

In Favour of an Ontology of Sexual Difference. Luce Irigaray on Mimesis and Fluidity (Niki Hadikoesoemo)

In this article, Niki Hadikoesoemo discusses the notion of the fluidity of sexual identity in light of Luce Irigaray’s account of sexual difference. Taking mimesis in its reproductive and productive sides as a guiding thread, she examines the historicity of sexual identity fluidity in relation to femininity in Irigaray’s second-wave feminism to show that sexual fluidity has to be configured by the concept of sexual difference if it wants to be productive, creative, and transformative. Full article here.

HOM Videos 6, Feminist Politics of Mimesis: Adriana Cavarero

In the sixth episode of HOM Videos, Nidesh Lawtoo (KU Leuven) meets the Italian feminist philosopher and political theorist Adriana Cavarero (U of Verona). From Plato to Arendt, Cavarero discusses the relational ontology that inclines the subject toward the other, the dangers of mass behavior, and the possibilities for a new feminist ethics. The city of Verona provides a background to Cavarero’s reflections on mimetic inclinations at play in a feminist politics of mimesis.

The Human Chameleon: Zelig, Nietzsche, and the Banality of Evil

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Woody Allen, Zelig, 1983

In this OA article for Film-Philosophy Nidesh Lawtoo revisits the case of Woody Allen’s mockumentary Zelig (1983) via Nietzsche’s diagnostic of mimicry and Arendt’s analysis of the banality of eivl. It argues that the case of the “human chameleon” remains contemporary for both philosophical and political reasons for it reveals the centrality of mirroring reflexes in the rise of old and new fascisms.

Nietzsche on Mimetic Metamorphoses Part II


For Nietzsche philosophy was a diagnostic activity that entailed looking at sickness from the perspective of health (and vice versa) to propose cures. In Part 2 of this talk, shot in Sils Maria, Switzerland, Nidesh Lawtoo considers the role of mimesis that leads Nietzsche to turn personal sickness or pathology into a diagnostic critique of mimetic pathos, or patho-logy. Drawing on concepts articulated in The Phantom of the Ego (2013), Nietzsche turns out to be at the origins of the concepts of mimetic pathos, pathos of distance, and patho(-)logies internal to HOM Theory.

MIMETIC INCLINATIONS: Gender, Philosophy and Politics with Adriana Cavarero (Nov. 18-19; Online)

The Gendered Mimesis project in collaboration with the ERC-funded Homo Mimeticus Project (Institute of Philosophy / Faculty of Arts, KU Leuven; http://www.homomimeticus.eu/) is pleased to announce a two-day online international conference on the subject of “Mimetic Inclinations” in the work of the Italian feminist philosopher and political theorist Adriana Cavarero. REGISTER for FREE here.

Mimetic Inclinations and the Limits of the Enlightened Subject (Willow Verkerk)

In this talk GM member Willow Verkerk proposes a mimetic return to the Kantian subject through the dissonant figure of the Marquis de Sade’s Juliette. It brings together Simone de Beauvoir’s reading of Sade and Adriana Cavarero’s criticism of Kant to show that Juliette’s sadism is a problem distinctive to the denial of mimetic inclination. It argues that Juliette position, as one legacy of the enlightened subject, requires us to take seriously the material implications of a human ideal who is uninterested in love.

Recording available here:

Nietzsche on Mimetic Metamorphoses

For Nietzsche philosophy was an embodied activity that should lead to a metamorphosis of the spirit. In Part 1 of this talk, shot in Sils Maria, Switzerland, Nidesh Lawtoo situates Nietzsche’s “Three Metamorphoses of the Spirit” that open Thus Spoke Zarathustra against the Alpine summits and paths that inspired Nietzsche’s meditations in the first place. In the process, mimesis turns out to be central for Nietzsche’s reevaluation of morality, subjectivity, as well as to concepts such as the “overman” and the “eternal return of the same.”

Conrad and the Planetary (with William Connolly)

In this online dialogue on Conrad and the Planetary (Sept. 9. 4pm CET) HOM PI Nidesh Lawtoo and political theorist William Connolly join forces to reflect on the role of reading fiction in general and Conrad’s tales of catastrophe in particular, to face planetary challenges in the Anthropocene. More information here.

Kierkegaard, Mimesis, Modernity by Wojciech Kaftanski

In this dazzling new book, HOM associate member Wojciech Kaftanski offers a timely, important, and original contribution to the mimetic turn. He convincingly shows how Kierkegaard’s existential mimesis interlaces aesthetic and religious themes, including the familiar core concepts of imitation, repetition, and admiration as well as the newly arisen notions of affectivity, contagion, and crowd behavior. Available for pre-order at Routledge.