HOM Videos

HOM Videos 10, Ancient Foundations for Mimetic Studies: Nidesh Lawtoo. II Dionysian Pathos and Critical Distance

HOM Videos 10, Ancient Foundations for Mimetic Studies: Nidesh Lawtoo. I. Birth of Philosophy out of Mimetic Wisdom

HOM Videos 9, The Neuroscience of Mimesis: Vittorio Gallese. III: Experience, Aesthetics, Hypermimesis

HOM Videos 9, The Neuroscience of Mimesis: Vittorio Gallese. II Mirror Neurons Now & Then

In this second episode of HOM Videos on The Neuroscience of Mimesis, Vittorio Gallese discusses with Nidesh Lawtoo important precursors of the discovery of mirror neurons in aesthetics, phenomenology and the tradition of the mimetic unconscious: from Nietzsche to Lipps, Merleau-Ponty to Aby Warburg, Charles Féré to Pierre Janet, a number of fin-de-siecle philosophical physicians were sensitive to the mirroring relation between movement and sensation later confirmed by the discovery of mirror neurons

HOM Videos 9, The Neuroscience of Mimesis: Vittorio Gallese. I History of a Discovery

As HOM Videos moves toward a conclusion, Nidesh Lawtoo travels to Parma, Italy, to interview neuroscientist Vittorio Gallese who, along with Giacomo Rizzolatti and his team, discovered mirror neurons in the early 1990s. In the first of four episodes on a major contribution to the mimetic turn, Gallese retells the history of the discovery of mirror neurons in nonhuman and human primates, discusses what more is known about mirroring mechanisms 30 years later, and begins to lay out the theoretical implications of embodied simulation for the transformations of homo mimeticus in the 21st century.

HOM Videos 8, The Psychology of Mimesis: Mikkel Borch-Jabobsen

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.

Plasticity of Mimesis / Mimetic Plasticity: Catherine Malabou & N. Lawtoo in Dialgoue

In this dialogue, Catherine Malabou and Nidesh Lawtoo explore the genealogical continuities between mimesis and plasticity to foster metamorphoses for the present and future. Taking Nietzsche’s “Three Metamorphoses of the Spirit” in Thus Spoke Zarathustra Malabou and Lawtoo discuss how both brain plasticity and imitation play a central role in the formation of the subject via education, memory, and habits stretching to include metamorphic transformations in the age of AI simulations.

Inclining Mimesis: A Dialogue with Adriana Cavarero

In this dialogue Adriana Cavarero engages in a dialogue with Nidesh Lawtoo in view of inclining mimesis toward a relational conception of homo mimeticus that is open to affective influences, for both good and ill. Topics addressed include the danger of (new) fascist fusions, the pluralism of surging democracy, ethical responsibility, maternity, and other topics central to the surging field of mimetic studies.

HOM Videos 7, Mimesis, Sport, Crowds: Gunter Gebauer

In this seventh episode of HOM videos, German philosopher Gunter Gebauer (Free U of Berlin) discusses the discuss the role mimesis plays in sports, the origins of language, social distinction, crowd behavior, and the recent rise of hypermimetic behavior in the digital age, all of which paint a picture of homo mimeticus beyond good and evil.

Jean-Luc Nancy: The Myth of Community (Prelude)

Jean-Luc Nancy is internationally known for launching the concept of “community” on the philosophical scene. But what is the mythic experience that gave birth to his community in the first place? Where was this scene set? And who are its protagonists? In this singular-plural interview shot in the summer of 2020, Jean-Luc Nancy begins to tell the myth of the Strasbourg community to Nidesh Lawtoo. Addressing a world that “is soon going to disappear,” Nancy narrates a Prologue for a myth yet to come…

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.

Nietzsche on Mimetic Metamorphoses II (N. Lawtoo)


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.

Nietzsche on Mimetic Metamorphoses I (N. Lawtoo)


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: Nidesh Lawtoo in Dialogue with William Connolly

Mimetic Resonances

In this Alpine talk, Nidesh Lawtoo outlines critical and theoretical resonances between sound theory and mimetic theory. From Heart of Darkness to the origins of music, Lawtoo outlines the duplicity of mimetic resonances from the all-too-human vulnerability to (new) fascist leaders whose voice is hollow at the core to counter-movements of anti-fascist solidarity like BLM, while situating these mimetic resonances in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic–from an Alpine distance.

Vibrant Mimesis: A Walk with Jane Bennett (Nidesh Lawtoo)

In this account of Jane Bennett’s Influx & Efflux (2020) Nidesh Lawtoo establishes a bridge between new materialism and mimetic theory. He argues that the influences internal to Bennett’s account of a porous self, tap into the powers of mimesis to induce sympathy towards (non)human others, along contagious lines central to the mimetic turn as well.

HOM Videos ep. 5, Jean-Luc Nancy: Philosophy and Mimesis

In the fifth episode of HOM Videos, Nidesh Lawtoo meets French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy (U of Strasbourg) to discuss the ancient quarrel between philosophy and mimesis. Topics discussed include the relation between mimesis, myth, politics and community. Trailer here.

Reading Conrad in Catastrophic Times: The Mimetic Turn (Nidesh Lawtoo)

In this video presentation for the 2020 Joseph Conrad Society (UK) Annual Meeting shot on the Furka Pass (Swiss Alps), ERC grantee Nidesh Lawtoo introduces the relevance of Conrad’s mimetic turn to face contemporary catastrophes like (new) fascist politics, viral pandemics, and climate change in the Anthropocene. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.14321…

HOM Videos, Ep.4: The Anthropology of Mimesis: Christoph Wulf

In this fourth episode of HOM Videos, part of the ERC project Homo Mimeticus, Nidesh Lawtoo (KU Leuven) interviews the anthropologist Christoph Wulf (Freie U of Berlin) to discuss the centrality of mimesis in rituals, social identity and education. Trailer here.

HOM Videos, Ep. 3: The Complexity of Mimesis: Edgar Morin

In this third episode of HOM Videos (trailer), part of the ERC Homo Mimeticus Project, Nidesh Lawtoo (KU Leuven) interviews the French sociologist, philosopher and founder of complexity theory Edgar Morin. From the anthropology of the double to cinematic identifications, ethics to politics, mimicry to the birth of art, homo mimeticus turns out to be constitutive of Morin’s complex view of human nature.

Nidesh Lawtoo presents, (New) Fascism: Contagion, Community, Myth (2019)

Fascism tends to be relegated to a dark chapter of European history, but what if new forms of fascism are currently returning to the forefront of the political scene? In this book, ERC grantee Nidesh Lawtoo furthers his diagnostic of crowd behavior, identification, and mimetic contagion to account for the growing shadow cast by (new) leaders who rely on new media to take possession of the digital age. Book available for purchase here.

HOM Videos, Homo Mimeticus: A Short Introduction

ERC grantee Nidesh Lawtoo and his team members (Niki Hadikoesoemo, Daniel Villegas Velez and Wojciech Kaftanski) introduce the Homo Mimeticus Project at the Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven, Belgium.

HOM Videos, Ep 2: The Critic as Mime: J. Hillis Miller

In this second episode of HOM Videos, Nidesh Lawtoo interviews the literary critic and theorist J. Hillis Miller (Emeritus Professor, U of California at Irvine) on Deer Isle (Maine, USA, 2018) to discuss the relation between mimesis and literature, literary criticism/theory, deconstruction, reading in the digital age, new media, videogames, and contemporary politics. Watch the trailer here.

HOM VIDEOS, Ep 1: The Politics of Mimesis: William E. Connolly (Full Interview)

Why is mimesis a political problem? In this first of a series of interviews for the ERC project Homo Mimeticus , Nidesh Lawtoo meets political theorist William E. Connolly (Johns Hopkins University) in Boston (APSA 2018) to talk about the political dangers of affective contagion, mimetic identification and new fascism central to his latest book, Aspirational Fascism (2017). Watch trailer here.

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