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Colloquium on Violence and Religion 2010 - Hamerton-Kelly on Violence and Mimesis: A Critical Appreciation

Moderator: Diana Culbertson, O.P., a member of the Akron (Ohio) Dominican congregation, is Professor Emerita of English and Comparative Literature and former Director of Religious Studies at Kent State University

Speaker: James G. Williams, now retired, taught Hebrew Bible and New Testament at Syracuse University and is the author of Gospel Against Parable: Mark's Language of Mystery and Women Recounted: Narrative Thinking and the God of Israel.

Respondent: Martha Reineke is a member of the core faculty in the Graduate Program in Women's and Gender Studies as well as a Professor in the Department of Philosophy and World Religions at the University of Northern Iowa.

Williams reviews and appreciates the contributions of one of the most important persons and mimetic theorists, Robert Hamerton-Kelly. Concerning mimesis, Hamerton-Kelly begins with the fundamental Girardian concept that mimetic desire itself is the human mode of being in the world. Desire, which is mimetically structured and directed, is our “nature,” i.e., it is what is not created by human effort or achievement and it is essential to the basic characteristics and faculties of human being. This mode of being tends toward violence in the sense that violence is inevitable in human life because desire is a force that works through unconscious imitation of other humans who become models and rivals.

This event took place as part of the "2010 Colloquium on Violence & Religion - Transforming Violence: Cult, Culture and Acculturation"

At the COV&R conference, scholars from a wide range of disciplines explore questions about violence and their impacts on daily life. What sort of artistic, expressive forms and cultural formations result from the experience of violence?


Recorded Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at University of Notre Dame - McKenna Hall Auditorium.

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