Workshop: The Mimetic Condition

The Mimetic Condition: A Transdisciplinary Approach 

Room S, Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven (Belgium) 

December 5-6, 2019
Keynote: Prof. Gunter Gebauer (Free University of Berlin)

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. Careful not to impose a unitary perspective to a protean concept, we will be attending to the heterogeneous connections that have been forged since the publication of Mimesis, those that remained unexplored by the authors, and those still to be discovered. Disciplines represented include, continental philosophy, performance studies, sociology, literary theory, film studies, science of communication, phenomenology, media studies, theater studies, musicology, among other perspectives.



The two-day workshop is organized by HOM Team members Niki Hadikoesoemo, Daniel Villegas Vélez, Wojciech Kaftanski, and Nidesh Lawtoo in collaboration with the Husserl Archives. It will consist of 15, 20-minute papers, a keynote talk by Prof. Gunter Gebauer (Free University of Berlin) and a screening of a video-interview with prof. Christoph Wulf, co-authors of Mimesis: Culture, Art, Society (U. of California Press, 1992). 

With support from the European Research Council, Institute of Philosophy KU Leuven, and the KU Leuven Doctoral School for the Humanities & Social Sciences OJO Initiative.

Contact: prof. Nidesh Lawtoo, nidesh.lawtoo [ at ]


Emanuele Antonelli (University of Turin)
Zeigam Azizov (Alpen-Adria Universität, Klagenfurt)
Christian Borch (Copenhagen Business School)
Roland Breeur (KU Leuven)
James Corby (University of Malta)
Annabelle Dufourcq (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Gunter Gebauer (Free University of Berlin)
Carrie Giunta (University of the Arts, London)
Niki Hadikoesoemo (KU Leuven)
Wojciech Kaftanski (KU Leuven)
Esa Kirkkopelto (University of the Arts, Helsinki)
Nidesh Lawtoo (KU Leuven)
Teresa Neto Projecto, (University of Lisbon)
Hannes Opelz (Trinity College, Dublin)
Irene Scicluna (Cardiff University)
Sara Soares Belo (University of Lisbon)
Daniel Villegas Vélez (KU Leuven)

Download the Programme (PDF)


Thursday, December 5

9:30 AM: Coffee (Raadzaal)
Welcome Remarks: Nidesh Lawtoo
10:15 AM–11:45 AM: Papers Session 1 (Room S)
  • “Mimesis and Social Avalanche”
    Christian Borch (Copenhagen Business School)
  • “Between Mask and Uniform”
    Sara Soares Belo (University of Lisbon)
  • “Birth of Homo Mimeticus: A Genealogy”
    Nidesh Lawtoo (KU Leuven)
12:00 PM — 1:30 PM: Lunch Break
1:30 PM–3:00 PM: Paper Session 2 (Room S)
  • “Trans-imitation: Translating Imitation and Derushage”
    Zeigam Azizov (Alpen-Adria Universität, Klagenfurt)
  • “Taking Back Mimesis to Save the Planet”
    Carrie Giunta (University of the Arts, London)
  • “Mimetic Annihilation”
    Hannes Opelz (Trinity College, Dublin)
3:00 PM—3:30 PM: Coffee Break (Raadzaal)
3:30 PM—5:00 PM: Papers Session 3 (Room S)
  • “Adumbration vs. Images” A Mimetic Nature of Reality?”
    Annabelle Dufourcq (Radboud University Nijmegen)
  • “A Critique of Mimesis”
    Emanuelle Antonelli (University of Turin)
  • “Mimesis Unbound?” Myth, Politics and the Literary in the 21st Century”
    James Corby (University of Malta)
5:00 PM Screening: HOM Interview with Christoph Wulf (Raadzaal)
5:30 PM Reception (Raadzaal)
7:00 PM Conference Dinner

Friday, December 6

10:00 AM Coffee (Raadzaal)
10:15 AM—11:45 AM: Papers Session 1 (Room S)
  • “Whitehead, Empathy, and Mimesis”
    Irene Scicluna (Cardiff University)”
  • “Kierkegaard on Imitation and Morality”
    Wojciech Kaftanski (KU Leuven)
  • “The Imitation of Affects in Spinoza”
    Roland Breeur (KU Leuven)
11:45 AM — 12:00 PM: Coffee Break (Raadzaal)
12:00 PM–1:00 PM: Papers Session 2 (Room S)
  • “Apparatus of Capture: Music and the Mimetic Construction of Social Reality in the Early Modern/Colonial Period”
    Daniel Villegas Vélez (KU Leuven)
  • “Alteration and Alterity: the Time of Mimesis, the Mimesis of Time”
    Teresa Neto Projeto, (University of Lisbon)

1:00 PM—2:15 PM: Lunch Break

2:15 PM–3:45 PM: Papers Session 3 (Room S)
  • “Mime de Rien”: The Actor’s Imitation Without a Model
    Niki Hadikoesoemo (KU Leuven)
  • “Mimesis and/is/as Restoration of Behavior”
    Fabrizio Deriu (University of Teramo)
  • “Mimetism and Language in the Scenic Performance”
    Esa Kirkkopelto (University of the Arts, Helsinki)”
3:45 PM—4:15 PM: Coffee Break (Raadzaal)

4:15 PM—5:15 PM: Keynote (Kardinal Mercierzaal)

Gunter Gebauer (Free University of Berlin)

“Worldmaking of the Hand: 
The Mimetic Creation of Human Culture”

Q & A / Concluding Remarks

5:30 PM Reception