The articles in this special issue offer powerful transdisciplinary testimony to the rich potential of the contemporary return to mimesis, and in doing so suggest ways in which the mimetic turn and the post-literary turn may be understood as critically supplementing each other. In this short accompanying video Guest Editor Nidesh Lawtoo offers a foretaste of what readers can expect.
This special issue, guest-edited by Nidesh Lawtoo sets conceptual foundations for the mimetic turn in posthuman studies. Including key figures in posthuman studies as well as a final dialogue with Katherine Hayles, the issue shows, from multiple perspectives that mimesis is central to our process of becoming posthuman. Available OPEN ACCESS HERE.
In this dialogue, Jane Bennett and Nidesh Lawtoo experiment with a mimetic genre to reflect on the vibrant interplay of human and nonhuman forms of communication. What style of language best approximates this mimetic entanglement? What role do non-verbal mimicry and gesture play in the birth of homo mimeticus? These are some of the questions on trans-specied mimesis the dialogue seeks to explore by going beyond nature and culture in the heterogeneous company of Nietzsche, mirroring bodies, and middle verbs.
When navigating the parallel world of fictional narrative, we basically rely on the same brain-body resources shaped by our relation to mundane reality, since both realms are characterized by similar social practices and performative acts. Cognitive narratology reveals that readers make sense of complex narratives by relying on very few textual or discourse cues.
In Keynote 1 for the Mimetic Turn, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen reloads Plato’s critique of mimesis for the digital age by restaging the following dialogue:
Socrates : Of the many excellences which I perceive in the order of our state, there is none which upon reflection pleases me better than the rule about Internet.
Glaucon : To what do you refer ?
Socrates : To our refusal to admit the memetic kind of media, for it certainly ought not to be received … Speaking in confidence, for you will not denounce me to Facebook and the rest of the memetic networks, all memes are made to contaminate the thinking (dianoia) of the hearers, unless as an antidote (pharmakon) they possess the knowledge of the true nature of the originals.
If, for a long time, mimesis has been restricted to the logic of visual representation, aesthetic realism, and the metaphysics of sameness it presupposes, the ERC-funded project Homo Mimeticus overturns this perspective to foreground a re-turn to an immanent, affective, embodied, and relational conception of mimesis at play in different processes of becoming other. This introduction to The Mimetic Turn Conference (April 2022) presents some of the concepts driving this new theory of homo mimeticus.
Based on a HOM conference held at KU Leuven, this special issue of CounterText on The Mimetic Condition (ed. Nidesh Lawtoo) joins forces with Jean-Luc Nancy, Gunter Gebauer, Christoph Wulf, and many others in order to promote a mimetic turn, or re-turn of attention to mimesis across different areas of critical theory. In the process, it proposes steps to a new theory of homo mimeticus to face some of the main–pandemic, political, environmental…– crises that cast a shadow on the present and future. Sample chapters available HERE& an Introductory VIDEO HERE.
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 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.