Mimetic Theory Summer School


July 5-10, 2016, Hope College, Holland, Michigan

Sponsored by Imitatio


Mimetic Theory Summer School offers an in-depth, interdisciplinary understanding of René Girard’s basic texts and their contexts. It is meant for students who have some knowledge of Mimetic Theory and want to explore its interdisciplinary application. This is a unique opportunity for students to share their interests with each other and to connect with established Girardian scholars in different fields. Similar summer schools have been held in recent years in Europe and Brazil. This will be the first one in North America. For more information about Mimetic Theory, see the Imitatio webpage.

Student profile

The intended audience for the Summer School includes both undergraduate students with an interest in Mimetic Theory and graduate students enrolled in Masters and PhD programs who are considering using Mimetic Theory in their studies. Some prior acquaintance with the work of René Girard is required. The number of participants is limited to 15.


The teaching team includes James Alison (theologian, independent scholar, Madrid), Andrew McKenna (Professor of French Language and Literature, Loyola University, Chicago), and Curtis Gruenler (Professor of English, Hope College, Holland, Michigan), who have published articles and books on mimetic theory and have taken on the challenge to develop the central insights of the theory in their own fields.

Course Content

The course addresses the three core books by René Girard: Deceit, Desire and the Novel, Violence and the Sacred, and Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World.

Students will gain:

-substantial knowledge of basic texts and concepts;

-new methodological skills to analyze texts and cases;

-an understanding of the scope and innovative character of the theory.

The course will be taught in English. Teaching takes the form of lectures, seminar groups and individual supervision. Reading assignments will be given before the Summer School proper, as well as during the course. Students are expected to write a proposal for a paper.

Preliminary Requirements

Before they arrive, students will be expected to have read assigned portions of Deceit, Desire and the Novel, Violence and the Sacred and Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World.


Hope College is located in Holland, Michigan, near the shore of Lake Michigan, 45 minutes from the Grand Rapids airport and three hours by car or train from Chicago.


The tuition fee is $250 and includes food and lodging. Participants should arrange their own travel and insurance. Payment must be made via credit card.


If you wish to apply, please complete the following registration form by June 1, 2016.

For further information, please email Curtis Gruenler, gruenler@hope.edu.


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Tuesday, July 05, 2016 - Sunday, July 10, 2016