Workshop CfP

The Mimetic Condition: A Transdisciplinary Approach

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 (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.

We invite contributions in the form of 20-minute papers that engage with the complexity and richness of the concept. We welcome papers that address the urgency of placing mimesis at the crossroads between the human sciences, the arts, and the political, with an ear to the new mimetic patho-logies (critical accounts of mimetic pathos) that are currently emerging.



Please submit a bio and a 200-word abstract to by June 30, 2019

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Mimesis as a transdisciplinary, impure, or paradoxical concept
  • Mimesis beyond representation: performativity, imitation, influence, music, pathos
  • Mimesis and society: habit, ethos, imitative learning, exemplars, fashion, reproducibility value
  • Mimesis and gender: insubordination, drag, masquerade, desire
  • Mimesis and the postcolonial: alterity, camouflage, mockery, mimicry
  • Mimesis and politics: power, (new) fascisms, myth, contagion, swarming
  • Mimesis and the unconscious: hypnosis, identification, suggestion, mimetic unconscious
  • The bio-ontology of mimesis: new materialisms, affect theory, non-human turn
  • Mimesis, and virtual reality: simulation, AI, new media, bio-technology, hypermimesis
  • Mimesis and anthropology: magic, shamanism, and the ontological turn
  • Mimesis and phenomenology: imagination, intersubjectivity, embodied cognition, fiction and the body, phantom, fantasy
  • Mimesis and violence: rivalry, sacrifice, transgression, and mimetic excess
  • Mimesis and performance: theater, music, performance, art
  • Alternative genealogies of traditional mimetic concepts (imitatio, representation, realism, naturalism)
  • Mimesis in the Anthropocene: human/non-human imitation, catastrophe, environmental contagion,
  • Mimesis and neuroscience: mirror neurons, neuroplasticity and beyond.

This workshop is organized by the HOM Team.

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement n°716181)