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.
In this opening session of the Homo Mimeticus Seminar (KU Leuven), PI Nidesh Lawtoo introduces some of the main concepts constitutive of the mimetic turn, or re-turn of mimesis in critical theory, including mimetic pathos, pathos of distance, mimetic patho(-)logies, and their relevance for the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
Since the publication of Gunter Gebauer and Christoph Wulf’s seminal book, Mimesis: Culture- Art-Society in 1992, the realization that mimesis is constitutive of the human condition has become central to the humanities, the arts, the social sciences, stretching to inform the hard sciences as well. Furthering Gebauer and Wulf’s call to examining the productive aspect of mimesis as a “human condition,” the ERC-funded Homo Mimeticus: Theory and Criticism (HOM) project convokes a two-day transdisciplinary workshop at the Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven, to explore the afterlives of the mimetic condition in the twenty-first century.
December 5-6, 2019,Room S, Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven (Belgium) Keynote: Prof. Gunter Gebauer (Free University of Berlin) “Worldmaking of the Hand: The Mimetic Creation of Human Culture”
In this chapter for The Palgrave Handbook of Mimetic Theory and Religion (eds. James Alison, Wolfgang Palaver), titled “The Classical World: Sacrifice, Religion, Philosophy,” Nidesh Lawtoo takes the work of René Girard, read with Friedrich Nietzsche, Jane Harrison and other philologists, as a starting point to offer a genealogy of the role sacrifice plays in the classical period. The patho-logy of sacrificial violence, Lawtoo argues, both confirms and supplements mimetic theory. You can read the chapter here.