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Rene Girard and Creative Mimesis

For half a century Rene Girard's theories of mimetic desire and scapegoating have captivated the imagination of thinkers and doers in many fields as an incisive look into the human condition, particularly the roots of violence. In a 1993 interview with Rebecca Adams, he highlighted the positive dimensions of mimetic phenomena without expanding on what they might be. Now, two decades later, this groundbreaking book systematically explores the positive side of mimetic theory in the context of the multi-faceted world of creativity. Several authors build on Adams' insight that loving mimesis can be understood as desiring the subjectivity of the other, particularly when the other may be young or wounded. With highly nuanced arguments authors show how mimetic theory can be used to address child and adult development, including the growth of consciousness and a capacity to handle complexity. Mimetic theory is brought to bear on big questions about creativity in nature, evolutionary development, originality, and religious intrusion into politics.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Contextual Introduction: Rene Girard and the Problem of Creativity Vern Neufeld Redekop and Thomas Ryba Part I. CREATIVE MIMESIS: HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Chapter 1: Transforming Intersubjective Space: From Ruthlessness to Primary Creativity and Loving Mimesis Martha Reineke Chapter 2: Mimesis and Creativity in Language Origins and Language Acquisition Christina Biava Chapter 3: The Good, the True, and the Beautiful and Rene Girard's Mimetic Theory Richard McGuigan and Nancy Popp Part II. ORIGINALITY AND COMPETITION Chapter 4: Modern Freedom and Creativity: "truth stripped of its cloak of time ..." Andrew O'Shea Chapter 5: Mimetic Theory and the Question of Originality Robert Doran Chapter 6: Mimesis and Immortal Glory: How Creativity is Spurred by the Desire for One's Ideas to Dominate the Meme Pool Thomas Ryba Part III. POLITICS, POWER AND RELIGION Chapter 7: Vox popluli, Vox Dei: The Pantheistic Temptation of Democracy Wolfgang Palaver Chapter 8: The Girardian Mimetic Theory and its Reading in a Positive Cultural and Economic Liberal Context Patrick Imbert Chapter 9: The Creative Desire for God: Mimesis Beyond Violence in Monotheistic Religion Thomas Reynolds Part IV. THEOLOGICAL CONCEPTS Chapter 10: Lonergan's 'Imitating the Divine Relations': A Theological Contribution to Mimetic Theology Robert M. Doran, S.J. Chapter 11: Original Sin, Grace and Positive Mimesis Petra Steinmair-Posel Chapter 12: New Creation Metaphors? Mimesis and difference, creation and ecology Andre Lascaris Part V. PHILOSOPHICAL AND SCIENTIFIC ISSUES Chapter 13: Hermeneutical Mimesis Joachim Duyndam Chapter 14: The Imitation of the Cellular and Violence Toward the Neighbor Francis Tobienne, Jr. Chapter 15: Love vs. Resentment: The Absence of Positive Mimesis in Generative Anthropology Pablo Bandera Chapter 16: Nature as a Source of Positive Desire Robin Collins

About the Author

Vern Neufeld Redekop is a full professor in the School of Conflict Studies at Saint Paul University, Ottawa. He is the co-author of Introduction to Conflict Studies: Empirical, Theoretical, and Ethical Dimensions (2012) and Beyond Control: A Mutual Respect Approach to Protest Crowd - Police Relations (2010). Thomas Ryba is Notre Dame Theologian-in-Residence at the Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center as well as lecturer in philosophy and religious studies and adjunct professor of Jewish studies at Purdue University. He is the co-editor of For Rene Girard: Essays in Friendship and in Truth (2008) and was North American editor of Religion (2004-2007).


This is a highly original multi-author volume about the work of Rene Girard in understanding openness, creativity and mutuality in relations with other people. Girard's theory of desire posits ideal personhood as one's ability to self-actualize through non-rivalry imitations of others without the need to dominate others in the process. Girard's work is best known for his analysis of inter-subjective violence, but the authors here show the power of his thought to model deeply reciprocal, positive human relations. A must read for all students of Girard - as well as other readers interested in a joyous paradigm for healthy families and societies. -- Mark Wallace, Swarthmore College; author of Finding God In The Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, Nature Harnessing the insights of some of the leading exponents of Girard's theories and examining all major parts of the creative process, this volume adroitly explores the relation of mimesis to creativity across the board in the humanities and social sciences - engaging fields as diverse as political science, psychology, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, literary study, religious studies, and theology. As such, it promises an innovative, re-invigorating, and productive set of approaches to questions that have withstood our attention for some two thousand years in the West, confined as they were for most of that time within the works of a few great literary artists. -- Sandor Goodhart, Purdue University

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