A gendered supplement to HOM this C1 project takes contemporary theories of gendered mimesis (or imitation) as a starting point to rethink subject formation. Adopting a comparative and interdisciplinary approach to behavioural imitation, it brings together critics of modernity such as Nietzsche and Adorno with contemporary European feminist philosophers to formulate a new ontology of the mimetic subject. Judith Butler, Catherine Malabou, and Adriana Cavarero in particular, respond to the new identity crises associated with gender, trauma, and sovereignty via concepts like “performativity,” “plasticity,” and “inclination” that urge new generations of feminist theorist to rethink the ancient problematic of mimesis from a gendered perspective. The general hypothesis of this project is that they propose a new theory of the subject which responds to the specifically mimetic paradoxes constitutive of gendered identities today.
Principal Investigator: Prof. Nidesh Lawtoo
Nidesh Lawtoo is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and English at KU Leuven and PI of HOM and Gendered Mimesis Projects. His work reframes the ancient concept of mimesis in light of recent developments in continental philosophy, literary theory, and political theory attentive to the contagious, affective, relationally inclined and plastic nature of imitation. The mimetic turn he promotes furthers lines of inquiry central to modernism, poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, affect theory, mimetic theory, stretching to include film studies and the neurosciences. He is the editor of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Contemporary Thought (2012), and (co)edited special issues of MLN, “Poetics and Politics: with Lacoue Labarthe” (2017), Conradiana (2016), CounterText (forthcoming) and Journal of Posthumanism (forthcoming). His books include, The Phantom of the Ego: Modernism and the Mimetic Unconscious (2013), Conrad’s Shadow: Catastrophe, Mimesis, Theory (2016; Adam Gillon Award in Conrad Studies, best book of 2015-2017), and (New) Fascism: Contagion, Community, Myth (2019).
Nidesh next manuscripts for the ERC project are titled, Violence and the Oedipal Unconscious: vol. 1 The Catharsis Hypothesis and Violence the Mimetic Unconscious: vol. 2 The Affective Hypothesis (forthcoming). He is also at work on a monograph on Oscar Wilde and the imitation of life and a collection of essays titled, Homo Mimeticus: Genealogy, Aesthetics, Politics. Institutional website here. For a complete list of publications see http://kuleuven.academia.edu/NideshLawtoo
Postdoctoral Researcher: Dr. Willow Verkerk.
Willow Verkerk is a Postdoctoral Researcher with the Gendered Mimesis Project at KU Leuven and Lecturer in Continental and Social Philosophy at the University of British Columbia. She was previously a Lecturer in Modern European Philosophy at CRMEP, Kingston University (2016-2017) and an Associate Lecturer in Philosophy at St. Mary’s University (2017-2018). She is the author of Nietzsche and Friendship (Bloomsbury, 2019) and numerous academic articles and essays (see https://www.willowverkerk.com/publications). Willow’s current research brings together continental philosophy, literary studies, and feminist theory to rethink gendered being through the concept of mimesis. Her analysis provides a genealogical study of the post-Enlightenment subject to further trouble its dualistic, patriarchal, and Eurocentric scheme. Drawing on a Nietzschean legacy in critical theory, she creates a dialogue between this legacy and contemporary continental feminist philosophers working with recent notions of gendered mimesis, specifically performativity (Butler), plasticity (Malabou), and inclinations (Cavarero). As a Postdoctoral Researcher with the Gendered Mimesis project Willow will work on a manuscript provisionally titled Gendered Being: Ontology and Mimesis in the Post-Enlightenment Subject, and a series of related articles.
Postdoctoral Researcher: Dr. Isabell Dahms
Isabell Dahms is a Postdoctoral Researcher with the Gendered Mimesis Project at KU Leuven. She also teaches on the BA Social Science course at King’s College University London. She co-teaches a course on London’s queer history and literature at the Bishopsgate Institute and has taught a Special Subject Philosophy class at the University of East Anglia.
Isabell is co-editor of Thinking Catherine Malabou: Passionate Detachments (Rowman and Littlefifeld, 2018) and the author of the article ‘Always trouble: Gender before and after Gender Trouble’ (Radical Philosophy, 2021).
Her PhD (2020) researched the emergence of the philosophical concepts of speculation and performativity in modern German philosophy, and more recently in feminist and queer theories. Her current research looks at the history of the concept of gender, its clinical, sociological and philosophical origins. As part of the Gendered Mimesis project, Isabell will analyse how ontology is rethought through the concepts of performativity (Judith Butler), speculation, inclination (Adriana Cavarero), and orientation (Sara Ahmed) and inquire into the relationship between feminist philosophy and collective political activism.
PhD Student: Giulia Rignano
Giulia Rignano is a PhD scholar at the Institute of Philosophy & The Faculty of Arts of KU Leuven within the Gendered Mimesis project and Associate Member of the HOM goup. She graduated in Philosophy at the University of Milan with a Master’s thesis in Aesthetics titled “Materiality and Matter in Gilles Deleuze and the New Materialisms”. Her research combines Neo-materialist perspectives, Mimetic processes and Feminist and Queer Theories. She has collaborated with the international research group IdEm. Identification, empathie, projection dans les arts du spectacle (CNRS, Paris). She is member of PIS. Performing Identities Seminar at the University of Milan and part of CONTRA/DIZIONI, a conference program on Queer and Feminist Theories based at the University of Milan. Her PhD within the Gendered Mimesis project focuses on the role of mimetic processes in rethinking the Subject in Feminist Theory and Criticism, highlighting the performative, affective, and collective dimension of its constitution. P
Postdoctoral Researcher: Dr Marina García Granero (Associate Member)
Marina García-Granero is a Post-doctoral Researcher at the University of Valencia and KU Leuven, thanks to the support of a “Margarita Salas” fellowship from the Spanish Government. She earned her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Valencia with a thesis entitled “The transformation of humanity in Nietzsche’s philosophy. On the concept of ‘breeding’ (Züchtung) and its projection in contemporary philosophical thought”. Before that, she received a BA in Philosophy (University of Valencia, Academic Excellence Award), MA in Ethics and Democracy (University of Valencia, Extraordinary Award) and MA in Feminist Studies (Jaume I University). She has been a visiting researcher at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris (France, 2019) and the Università del Salento (Lecce, Italy, 2018). Her areas of research and teaching are Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy, moral philosophy and feminist theory. List of publications: https://uv.academia.edu/mggranero
In the context of her research within the HOM team, Marina analyzes Nietzsche’s philosophy and legacy from the perspective of mimesis, with the aim of developing a genealogy of social and cultural normativity, considering the gendered elements as well. She studies mimesis as an anthropological condition for subject formation, focusing on philosophers influenced by Nietzsche or who have stablished a critical dialogue with his philosophy (Deleuze, Lacoue-Labarthe, Nancy, Lawtoo, Butler, Irigaray, Connolly, Bennett, etc.).