Homo Mimeticus: Nidesh Lawtoo @ TEDx


Nidesh Lawtoo, TEDxKULeuven May 2022

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.

Viral Mimesis: The Patho(-)Logies of the Coronavirus (N. Lawtoo)

In this article, Nidesh Lawtoo argues that the human, all too human vulnerability to mimesis (imitation) is a central and so far underdiagnosed element internal to the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. Supplementing medical accounts of viral contagion, the chapter develops a genealogy of the concept of mimesis – from antiquity to modernity to the present – that is attentive to both its pathological and therapeutic or patho-logical properties. Read full article here.

The Mimetic Turn: HOM Final Conference, April 20-22.

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). Keynotes and Invited Speakers include Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, Vittorio Gallese, Jane Bennett, William Connolly, Henry Staten, among other internationally renowned theorists and critics. Recordings 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.

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.

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.”

Adieu, Jean-Luc Nancy

HOM Workshop with Nancy, HIW KU Leuven 2018.

The French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy (1940-2021) sadly passed away on August 23, 2021, at the age of 81. One of the last giants of the structuralist and poststructuralist generation, Nancy authored over 200 books on subjects as diverse as German idealism and psychoanalysis, aesthetics and politics, subjectivity and community–devoting one of his last books to An All-Too -Human Virus (2021).

Nancy last visited the HIW in 2018 at the invitation of the HOM Project and gave a series of inspiring talks, seminars and interviews on mimesis, politics, and community. He will be much missed, but his philosophical traces remain to be followed up.

You can rewatch two video interviews at the HIW on HOM Videos, including one for VETO. More recently, in a written dialogue with Nidesh Lawtoo, Jean-Luc Nancy takes the recent return of attention to mimesis, the mimetic turn, as a starting point for considering the relationship between philosophy and literature. Reflecting on his lifelong philosophical project, Nancy stresses the centrality of mimesis at play in the linguistic turn, deconstruction, community, and sharing during and beyond Covid-19. Interview available here.

Lawrence contra (New) Fascism

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.

Cyborg Experiments (Kevin Warwick)

Part of the ERC-funded project Homo Mimeticus, the Posthuman Mimesis conference (KU Leuven, May 2021) promoted a mimetic turn in posthuman studies. In the first keynote Lecture, Prof. Kevin Warwick (U of Coventry) argued that our future will be as cyborgs – part human, part technology. Kevin’s own experiments will be used to explain how implant and electrode technology can be employed to create cyborgs: biological brains for robots, to enable human enhancement and to diminish the effects of neural illnesses. In all cases, the end result is to increase the abilities of the recipients.