These papers are extended examinations of mimetic theory that provide excellent insights into a variety of topics, from biblical studies to hip hop.
Acquisitive Desire in Early Childhood:
Rethinking Rivalry in the Playroom by Suzanne Ross
In this paper, Raven Founder Suzanne Ross puts two scholars of human mimesis, René Girard and Maria Montessori, in conversation with one another. She proposes that Montessori’s revolution in education presents a laboratory in which to observe the regular operation of acquisitive desire without rivalry.
Beyond Power Struggles by Suzanne Ross
Raven Founder Suzanne Ross was a keynote presenter at the Theology and Peace conference held in Baltimore, MD, in June 2011. Her paper, Beyond Power Struggles: Teaching Without Rivalry, illustrates how the teaching of Maria Montessori supports child development while avoiding teacher/child rivalries.
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Reading Stephen Sondheim with Sandor Goodhart
Sandor Goodhart, author of Reading Stephen Sondheim: A Collection of Critical Essays, is a Professor of English and Jewish Studies at Purdue University and Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Classical Studies. Professor Goodhart is a Raven Foundation Board Member and one of the founders of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion (COV&R). In this interview, Professor Goodhart examines the talent of Sondheim, his message and his audience.
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Sacrificial Crowds: Teaching Literature and Scripture in Prison
Andrew J. McKenna, author of Violence and Difference: Girard, Derrida, and Deconstruction, is Professor Emeritus of French Language and Literature at Loyola University Chicago. A Raven Foundation Board Member and one of the founders of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion (COV&R), Professor McKenna reflects on his experience teaching literature and scripture on prison.
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Taking Chances: Sacrificial Lotteries and Criminal Injustice
Raven Board Member Andrew J. McKenna examines scriptural and literary lotteries to reveal the racist scapegoating at the heart of America’s Prison Industrial Complex, challenging notions of white privilege and criminal justice. Professor Emeritus of French Language and Literature at Loyola University Chicago, Andrew teaches literature and scripture in prison.
The Root of Violence: Imitative Desire, Death Anxiety, and the Gospel’s Solution to Both by Matthew Distefano
In this essay, Matthew Distefano compares René Girard’s mimetic theory to Ernest Becker’s reflections on death anxiety. Their complementary theories have much to teach us about human violence, rivalry, and God’s project to bring peace to the world.
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The Disorder of Hip Hop: Mimetic Desire in the Hood by Debra Antis
Author Debra Anstis is a part time lecturer of New Testament Greek at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. A longtime reader of the work of Girard, she is a member of the Australian Girard Seminar a well as COV&R. Her interest in mimetic theory primarily relates to biblical studies and theology, however, she believes its engagement with other fields makes it especially thought-provoking. In this essay, she examines mimetic rivalry in the world of hip hop.
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A Theory of Everything (That Just Might Work) by Teresa Pitts
Teresa Pitts has worked as a professional cartographer and is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Political Science at Virginia Tech, as well as teaching as an adjunct at Radford University. She is interested in bring Girard’s ideas into Political Science, both in theoretical work as well as at the policy making level. Her essay explores the mimetic rivalries that led to the Rwanda genocide.
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Deceit, Desire and the Graphic Novel by Erik Buys
Erik Buys holds a master’s degree in religious studies from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), and teaches at a Jesuit High School, Sint-Jozefscollege, in Aalst (Belgium). A member of the Dutch Girard Society, Erik is also a singer, currently performing with El Grillo (Gent, www.elgrillo.be). In this essay, he examines the mimetic nature of man illustrated in the graphic novel, Watchmen.
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When Good People Do Bad Things by Suzanne Ross
Raven Founder Suzanne Ross uses the musical Wicked to explore how good people can end up doing very bad things without ever doubting their own goodness. It’s a must read for anyone who takes seriously the goal of being a truly good person.
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The Brothers Karamazov on the Page and the Stage by Andrew McKenna, Ph. D.
Dr. Andrew McKenna, Raven Foundation Board Member and Professor of French language and literature at Loyola University in Chicago, illuminates the power of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov as a work of literature and theatre after viewing the 2008 Lookingglass Theatre production, which was adapted and directed by Lookingglass Ensemble Member Heidi Stillman.
Download paper: The Brothers Karamazov by Andrew McKenna
Oops! I Did It Again… by Jim Grote
Jim Grote, co-author of Clever as Serpents: Business Ethics and Office Politics (a Girardian approach to business ethics), is an adjunct professor of philosophy, a development officer, and a financial journalist. In this article, Jim introduces the thought of Rene Girard through the work of Britney Spears.
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The Universal Truths of Islam and Mimetic Anthropology by Adam Ericksen
Adam Ericksen’s paper delivered at Fearful Symmetries COV&R Conference, 2009.
In the paper, Adam explores the Islamic concept of tawhid in relation to mimetic anthropology. The work of Tariq Ramadan and the life of Abdul Ghaffar Khan support the argument that the God revealed in Islam stands with the victims of culture, without desiring to create victims of oppressors.
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From Pesach to Pasach: The Sacrifice of Passover by Sandor Goodhart, Ph. D.
Prof. Sandor Goodhart explores the festive meal of Passover, a sacrificial meal (pesach) in honor of God’s “passing over” (pasach). What does “passing over” mean? It is the act of God giving up sacrifice, passing it over in favor of something else. The pesach meal reminds us of past victims (the shankbone on the table) so that we let go of, pass over, the making of more victims.
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Giving and Loving, or What’s the Most Important Thing by Mark R. Anspach, Ph. D.
An American anthropologist and social theorist based in Europe, Mark Anspach has been affiliated for the past twenty years with the Centre de Recherche en Épistémologie Appliquée at the École Polytechnique in Paris. His book about vengeance, gift and market exchange (À charge de revanche: Figures élémentaires de la réciprocité. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2002) includes a chapter that analyzes O. Henry’s short story, The Gift of the Magi. In it he suggests that love is best understood as gift: an act of completely gratuitous giving that appears unprompted, asks for nothing in return, and cannot easily be subjected to an economic cost/benefit analysis.
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Notes from the Desire Factory by Andris Berry
Andris Berry uses his understanding of mimetic theory and experience in the film industry to examine advertising and its impact on American culture. This paper was presented at the Colloquim for Violence and Religion held in June 2008 in Riverside, California.
Download paper: Andris Berry’s Notes From The Desire Factory
Let the Word Alone do the Work: Mimetic Theory Goes to Church by Rev. Stephanie Perdew, Ph.D. and Suzanne Ross
At the COV&R Conference 2005 in Schoenstatt Center, Koblenz/GERMANY focused on the theme, Mimetic Theory and the Imitation of the Divine, Reverend Stephanie Perdew of the First Congregational Church of Wilmette and Raven Founder Suzanne Ross present this paper exploring preaching and teaching.
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