Metamorphoses of Mimesis:Plasticity, Subjectivity and Transformation with Catherine Malabou 

February 23-24, 2023 (KU LEUVEN, online)

With her concepts of plasticity, epigenetics, and metamorphoses of intelligence, Malabou furthers recent developments in new mimetic studies. She does not restrict mimesis to the traditional realistic model of representation/bad copy. Instead, she accounts for the affective, gendered, political, ontological, performative, and metamorphic powers of homo mimeticus. She also opposes any simple notion of the autonomous anti-mimetic subject and proposes instead to rethink the complex and contradictory forms of mimetic metamorphoses in the twenty-first century. For Malabou, this means thinking subjectivity across biology, philosophy, and aesthetics in view of exploring the ethical, gendered, ontological, and political transformations at play in what we call, the plasticity of mimesis.

KEYNOTE: Catherine Malabou: Mirroring and Conflicting Subliminalities
Plastic Mimesis / Mimetic Plasticity: Catherine Malabou & Nidesh Lawtoo in Dialogue

Mimetic Inclinations:
Gender, Philosophy, and Politics with Adriana Cavarero

November 18-19, 2022 (KU LEUVEN, Online)

Cavarero’s protean work in political theory, continental philosophy, literary theory, ethics, aesthetics, and feminism does not restrict mimesis to a representational/ bad copy model. Cavarero troubles the autonomous subject, placing into crises the commitment that philosophy has to a vertical metaphysics.  In doing so, she urges new generations of feminist theorists, critics, and artists to explore the theoretical and creative potential of what we call “mimetic inclinations,” including imitation, mimicry, identification, simulation, empathy, and affective contagion, among other manifestations of what the ancients called, enigmatically, mimēsis. Our wager is that thus reframed, mimesis is internal to a relational conception of subjectivity inclined toward alterity that informs the entirety of Cavarero’s thought and has remained largely unexplored so far.

Inclining Mimesis: A Dialogue between Adriana Cavarero & Nidesh Lawtoo