In this book launch of a diptych on Violence and the Unconscious, Nidesh Lawtoo, Marina Garcia-Granero and William Johnsen present the latest output of the ERC project Homo Mimeticus. Rather than entering the debate on media violence from a quantitative perspective, the book retraces the genealogy of the concept of catharsis that still informs, or misinform the popular imagination. The launch contextualizes the book within mimetic studies and discusses key thinkers of violence and the unconscious, from Aristotle to Nietzsche, Freud to Girard, among others. More information here: https://msupress.org/9781628964851/vi…
In this book launch of Homo Mimeticus: A New Theory of Imitation (Leuven UP, 2023, OPEN ACCESS), HOM/GM PI Nidesh Lawtoo joins forces with his team (Niki Hadikoesoemo, Marina Garcia-Granero & Giulia Rignano) to sum up the main results of the HOM project and open up the new transdisciplinary field of mimetic studies Homo Mimeticus proposes.
In the eighth episode of HOM Videos, the philosopher and historian of psychoanalysis Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen (University of Washington) discusses with Nidesh Lawtoo the genealogical foundations of psychic mimesis: from his studies at the University of Strasbourg with Lacoue-Labarthe to the birth of psychoanalysis (out of Charcot’s and Bernheim’s theories of hysteria and suggestion), from Freud’s account of identification to Lacan’s theory of the mirror stage to Big Pharma, mimesis turns out to play the leading protean role in the modern and contemporary pathologies of homo mimeticus.
To conclude the Homo Mimeticus Project, PI Nidesh Lawtoo takes the mimetic turn on the TEDx stage, where mimesis has been at play for quite some time. Addressing the timely question, “how to (re)structure the (de)structured,” Nidesh takes us on an untimely philosophical journey–from children’s mimicry to Socrates’ dialogues, emotions to emojis, the Greek stage to the TED stage–to show that imitation is constitutive of an original species he calls, homo mimeticus.
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:
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.”
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.
Part of a conference on D. H. Lawrence and the Demos, HOM PI Nidesh Lawtoo situates Lawrence’s critique of crowd psychology, the mimetic unconscious, and fascist contagion in the political novels. The background of the Black Forest provides reflections on Lawrence’s attention to the attraction and repulsion generated by “blood consciousness” or “root consciousness.” In the process, Lawrence turns out to be a key ally to fight contra (new) fascism in general and contra what Foucault calls the “fascism in us all.” Full article here.
In her keynote address for the Posthuman Mimesis conference, part of the ERC-funded HOM project, Katherine Hayles relies on her double training in biology and literary theory to promote a mimetic turn in posthuman studies. With roots in Greek classical drama and development in literary theory, mimesis is often regarded as primarily a discursive technique. Recently, however, Hayles argues that its applications in embodied practices have undergone exponential expansion in an unexpected domain: microbial resistance to viruses.