In the Mail: Mimesis and Science: Empirical Research on Imitation and the Mimetic Theory of Culture and Religion

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Can’t wait to dive into this book!

This exciting compendium brings together, for the first time, some of the foremost scholars of René Girard’s mimetic theory, with leading imitation researchers from the cognitive, developmental, and neuro sciences. These chapters explore some of the major discoveries and developments concerning the foundational, yet previously overlooked, role of imitation in human life, revealing the unique theoretical links that can now be made from the neural basis of social interaction to the structure and evolution of human culture and religion. Together, mimetic scholars and imitation researchers are on the cutting edge of some of the most important breakthroughs in understanding the distinctive human capacity for both incredible acts of empathy and compassion as well as mass antipathy and violence. As a result, this interdisciplinary volume promises to help shed light on some of the most pressing and complex questions of our contemporary world.

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Imitation, Mimetic Theory, and Religious & Cultural Evolution Project

1. The overall objective with this grant project is to initiate cross-fertilization of research findings between mimetic scholars and empirical researchers concerning the foundational role of imitation for human motivation, behavior, development, social & cognitive functioning, and religious & cultural evolution. This work will be accomplished by a select group of scholars and researchers with interdisciplinary expertise in the fields covered by the scope of this project. This core group of participants will facilitate integrative dialogue between the interpretive hermeneutics of mimetic theory and empirical research on imitation during three separate symposiums over the course of three years.

2. In addition to these meeting, mediation of these important issues will be provided for general education through lectures, conferences, internet resources, and written scholarship, including the publication of the results of the grant project in edited book form for dissemination to a wider academic and scientifically educated lay audience.

3. It is hoped that this interdisciplinary project will serve as the beginning of a long term initiative in the attempt to achieve consilience across such a wide range of disciplines concerning the core mechanisms and cultural forces of human life.

For those of us interested in mimetic theory, this looks fun. Find more here.

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Quote of the Day: René Girard – Do Violence

René Girard
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I am always told one must never do violence to the text. Faced with Guillaume de Machaut the choice is clear: one must either do violence to the text or let the text forever do violence to innocent victims.

The book is outstanding, thus far, dealing with mimetic desire in persecution texts. I’ll have more to say about this book as I go on…

The author which Girard mentions is one who was writing in the 14th century, during the Black Death. The author writes of his community’s struggles with this social crisis, and the way in which they overcame it. They killed Jews. They were the scapegoat which they blamed for the plague.


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Another great Mimetic Theory Website

I don’t speak French, however, the site is still cool enough to use through Google Translate:

L’objectif de ce site “René Girard – Perspectives Humaines & Perspectives Chrétiennes “
est de contribuer à la diffusion et à l’approfondissement de la pensée de René Girard. L’enjeu est d’importance car nous pensons qu’une meilleure appréhension de l’humain à la lumière de la théorie mimétique est de nature à permettre l’émergence de nouvelles façons apaisées d’être au monde … Nous espérons vous accueillir dans un espace convivial où vous pourrez :

  • rafraîchir votre connaissance de cette oeuvre et découvrir ses prolongements chez d’autres auteurs,
  • vous tenir au courant des derniers développements avec la possibilité de participer à leur élaboration en nous faisant part, par exemple, de documents pertinents concernant la théorie mimétique,
  • connaître les réflexions d’autres personnes qui partagent votre intérêt pour René Girard et avec lesquelles, toujours si vous le souhaitez, vous pourrez échanger et confronter vos points de vue.

HT – Via twitter.

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René Girard – Genesis of Mimetic Theory

This is awesome:

Part II:

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