Imitation, mimetic theory, and religious evolutionScott Garrels, PhD, Assistant Research Professor, Fuller Graduate School of Psychology
The overall objective of this project is to commence a research program that will pioneer interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars of the mimetic theory of culture and religion and imitation researchers concerning the core motivational aspects of imitation in human relations and their powerful implications for the study of religious and cultural evolution.
The second of three symposiums recently took place at Stanford University on April 2008. Attending this first meeting were several mimetic scholars and members of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion (COV&R), including cultural theorist and pioneer of the mimetic theory René Girard (Stanford University), social and political philosopher Jean-Pierre Dupuy (Stanford University), philosopher Paul Dumouchel (Ritsumeikan University, Japan), anthropologist Mark Anspach (École Polytechnique, Paris), pastor and theologian Robert Hamerton-Kelly (Stanford University), and psychiatrist Jean-Michel Oughourlian (University of Paris).
Andrew Meltzoff (University of Washington), the internationally recognized expert on infant and adult imitation was also present, as well as Vittorio Gallese (University of Parma, Italy), one of the pioneering discoverers of mirror neurons. In addition, several prominent interdisciplinary scholars and researchers also participated in the weekend’s events, including physician and ethicist William Hurlbut (Stanford University), anthropologist and biologist Melvin Konner (Emory University), and neuroscientist Warren Brown (Fuller Graduate School of Psychology).
This grant is funded by the John Templeton Foundation and administered through the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science. Additional funding has been provided by the Institute for Christian Unity. For more information about this project, its objectives, and participants, please visit www.mimetictheory.org