Cover image of Animal Mimesis. Intersections of Aesthetics and Anthropology
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Animal Mimesis. Intersections of Aesthetics and Anthropology

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The difference between man and animal plays a crucial role in Western philosophy. As early as in Aristotle’s Poetics, this distinction is bound up with issues of mimesis. Aristotle considers mimesis as a property that distinguishes man from other animals, but also defines the human susceptibility to imitation as the basis of the production of art. Ever since, anthropological and aesthetic concepts have tended to overlap when it comes to mimesis. In the tradition of philosophy and aesthetics, however, thinkers have alternated in attributing mimesis to humans and animals. Instead of being an intellectual capacity in the Aristotelian sense, mimetic processes can also be conceptualized as mere reproduction. This ‘low’ kind of mimesis has often been compared to imitative animal behavior. Covering such aspects as animals as metaphors of imitation as well as the subversive potential of animal mimesis, this conference explores the outstanding, yet often unrecognized importance of the theory of mimesis for the dynamic field of Human-Animal Studies, and vice versa.

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The difference between man and animal plays a crucial role in Western philosophy. As early as in Aristotle’s Poetics, this distinction is bound up with issues of mimesis. Aristotle considers mimesis as a property that distinguishes man from other animals, but also defines the human susceptibility to imitation as the basis of the production of art. Ever since, anthropological and aesthetic concepts have tended to overlap when it comes to mimesis. In the tradition of philosophy and aesthetics, however, thinkers have alternated in attributing mimesis to humans and animals. Instead of being an intellectual capacity in the Aristotelian sense, mimetic processes can also be conceptualized as mere reproduction. This ‘low’ kind of mimesis has often been compared to imitative animal behavior. Covering such aspects as animals as metaphors of imitation as well as the subversive potential of animal mimesis, this conference explores the outstanding, yet often unrecognized importance of the theory of mimesis for the dynamic field of Human-Animal Studies, and vice versa.

Cover image of Animal Mimesis. Intersections of Aesthetics and Anthropology

Animal Mimesis. Intersections of Aesthetics and Anthropology

Latest release on Jul 01, 2016

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 4 days ago

Rank #1: Animal Mimesis: Between Art and Science

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This papers analyses the diverse theories of animal mimicry that spread around 1900 and argues that these theories should be considered not so much as a step in the development of Darwinism, but as part of the history of media and as being engaged in the search for the ‘perfect medium’ in this period.

Jun 30 2016

36mins

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Rank #2: The Structure of Scientific Imitations: Hoaxes as Subversive Mimesis

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Taking a meta-perspective on academic trends and publishing, this paper shows that hoaxes of scholarly and scientific research often rely on a somewhat problematic distinction between good and bad mimesis.

Jul 01 2016

24mins

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Rank #3: Mocking Mimesis: Robinson's Parrot and the Rise of the Modern Novel

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This paper examines the blurring of boundaries between animal and human mimesis in Daniel Defoe’s "Robinson Crusoe" and argues that it is the seemingly mechanic voice of the parrot that enables Robinson to become the subject of the modern novel.

Jul 01 2016

42mins

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Rank #4: The Red Peter Principle: Jewish Mimetics?

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This paper focuses on the anti-Semitic bestialization of ‘the Jew’ in the nineteenth and at beginning of the twentieth century and presents a reading of Kafka’s "A Report to an Academy" as a subversion of stereotypes that identify Jews with animals, in particular with apes.

Jul 01 2016

41mins

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Rank #5: The Blood of the Animal: Metaphor, Mimesis, and the Origin of Poetry

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This paper investigates the problematic relationship between humans and animals in the early twentieth-century crisis of language (Sprachkrise) as well as the merging between both in the act of sacrifice.

Jun 30 2016

46mins

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