Books

Homo Mimeticus II

Second volume of the Homo Mimeticus series to advance the emerging transdisciplinary field of mimetic studies

After the linguistic and the affective turns, the new materialist and the performative turns, the cognitive and the posthuman turns, it is now time to re-turn to the ancient, yet also modern and still contemporary realization that humans are mimetic creatures. In this second installment of the Homo Mimeticus series, international scholars working in philosophy, literary theory, classics, cultural studies, sociology, political theory, and the neurosciences engage creatively with the theory developed by Nidesh Lawtoo in Homo Mimeticus: A New Theory of Imitation to further the transdisciplinary field of mimetic studies.

Agonistic critical engagements with precursors like Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Bataille, Irigaray and Girard, involving contributions by leading experts of imitation such as Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, William E. Connolly, Henry Staten and Vittorio Gallese among many others, reveal the urgency to rethink mimesis beyond realism. From imitation to identification, mimicry to affective contagion, techne to simulation, mirror neurons to biomimicry, Homo Mimeticus casts a shadow—but also a light—on the present and future, from social media to the Anthropocene.

Homo Mimeticus

Genealogy of one of the most ancient and
influential concepts in western thought: Mimesis

Imitation is, perhaps more than ever, constitutive of human originality. Many things have changed since the emergence of an original species called Homo sapiens, but in the digital age humans remain mimetic creatures: from the development of consciousness to education, aesthetics to politics, mirror neurons to brain plasticity, digital simulations to emotional contagion, (new) fascist insurrections to viral contagion, we are unconsciously formed, deformed, and transformed by the all too human tendency to imitate—for both good and ill. Crossing disciplines as diverse as philosophy, aesthetics, and politics, Homo Mimeticus proposes a new theory of one of the most influential concepts in western thought (mimesis) to confront some of the hypermimetic challenges of the present and future.

Written in an accessible yet rigorous style, Homo Mimeticus appeals to both a specialized and general readership. It can be used in courses of modern and contemporary philosophy, aesthetics, political theory, literary criticism/theory, media studies, and new mimetic studies.

Ebook available in Open Access.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Watch the recording of the book launch: https://youtu.be/3fRhGvbv0Pg

Epicureanism and Scientific Debates. Epicurean Tradition and its Ancient Reception

New perspectives on Epicureanism in the fields of Epistemology and Ethics.

Epicurean philosophy is a philosophy of knowledge, nature and pleasure. The second part of a two-volume set, this edited collection examines the core areas of Epicureanism : physiology, epistemology and ethics. The study is carried out from multiple perspectives: the reconstruction and analysis of primary sources, an examination of the debates and controversies surrounding the school of Epicurus, and a review of the reception of Epicurean philosophy. By challenging the widespread stereotype of Epicureanism as a dogmatic, closed system of thought, this volume offers a fresh outlook on this philosophy.

The book includes studies of Epicureans linguistic theory and practice, many fundamental aspects of Epicurean epistemology, physiology and ethics and their reception, the communicative strategy of Epicurean works, and the relationship between philosophy and the sciences.

“Voor ons sijn verscheenen”

Het alledaagse leven in de vroegmoderne Nederlanden in een nieuw licht dankzij rechtshistorische bronnen

Vroegmoderne getuigenverslagen behoren tot de belangrijkste bronnen die we hebben om allerlei verborgen dimensies van het verleden te reconstrueren. Toch lieten historici ze tot voor kort vaak links liggen, omdat ze doorgaans moeilijk te raadplegen en te interpreteren waren voor onderzoekers zonder juridische expertise. Dankzij de ontwikkeling van nieuwe technieken en databanken krijgen we echter steeds beter inzicht in deze bronnen en daarmee ook in het alledaagse leven in de vroegmoderne tijd. Mestrapers, jonkers, prostituees, kruimeldieven, oplichters en slaafgemaakten, allemaal krijgen ze een stem in de duizenden getuigenissen en attestaties die in de vroegmoderne Nederlanden en daarbuiten werden opgetekend. Oog in oog met het verleden, zo lijkt het wel, ook al zit er hier en daar wel wat ruis op de bron.

Thinking with the Harrisons

What is the role of the arts in the global environmental crisis?

Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, known as ‘the Harrisons’, dedicated five decades to exploring and demonstrating a new approach to artistic practice, centred on “doing no work that does not attend to the wellbeing of the web of life.” Their collaborative practice pioneered a way of drawing together art and ecology. They closely observed, often with irony and humour, how human intervention disrupts the dynamics of life as a web of interrelationships. The authors of this book ‘think with’ the Harrisons, critically tracing their poetics as a reimaging and reconfiguring of the arts in response to the unfolding planetary crisis. They draw parallels between the artists’ poetics and rethinking in the philosophy of science, particularly drawing on the work of Isabelle Stengers.

Thinking with the Harrisons is for anyone concerned with the implications of ecological concerns as a reimagining of public life, including the interaction of art and science. Throughout their joint practice, the Harrisons sought to engage policy makers, governments, ecologists, artists, and inhabitants of specific places, sensitizing us to the crises that emerge from grounded experiences of place and time.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

This book will be made open access within three years of publication thanks to Path to Open, a program developed in partnership between JSTOR, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), University of Michigan Press, and The University of North Carolina Press to bring about equitable access and impact for the entire scholarly community, including authors, researchers, libraries, and university presses around the world. Learn more at https://about.jstor.org/path-to-open/

Exhibition ‘Helen and Newton Harrison: California Work’, 19 September 2024 – 19 January 2025, La Jolla Historical Society, San Diego CA

Keynote Lecture ‘Thinking with the Harrisons: Re-imagining the Arts in the Global Environment Crisis’, 19 November, UC San Diego

Retranslating the Bible and the Qur’an

Significant contribution to the retranslation studies of religious texts.

Despite the lively scholarly discourse on retranslation and its manifest value for uncovering dynamics of cultural change, interpretation, and reception, the retranslation of religious texts has received only fragmented attention in recent years. By spanning both historical and current aspects, and by treating the Bible – both Jewish and Christian – and the Qur’an together, this book breaks new ground and paves the way for future research on the myriad discursive and religious aspects of retranslation.

This carefully curated collection of articles compellingly argues that the retranslation of canonical religious texts is a multi-faceted phenomenon. With cases ranging in time from the early Reformation to the present, and traversing linguistic contexts from Russia to Sweden, Slovenia to Saudi Arabia, the essays capture diverse dimensions of retranslation work. The collection demonstrates that retranslations of such texts manifest in different forms, depending on the religious, political and societal circumstances, the targeted audiences, and the status of existing translations. Their reception too may vary highly, depending on circumstances. Authored by specialists in the different fields of retranslation of the Bible and the Qur’an, each contribution outstandingly illustrates this complexity and offers fresh perspectives and innovative insights that help lay the groundwork for future research in this area of study.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Africans

First book-length study by an African that incorporates the trials and triumphs of Queen Elizabeth II, tracing her contributions to African affairs

The road to Queen Elizabeth II’s implementation of African reforms was rough, especially in the first two decades following her ascension to the throne. In this book, Raphael Chijioke Njoku examines Queen Elizabeth II’s role in the African decolonization trajectories and the postcolonial state’s quest for genuine political and economic liberation since 1947. By locating Elizabeth at the center of Anglophone Africa’s independence agitations, the account harnesses the African interests to tease out the monarch’s dilemma of complying with Whitehall’s decolonization schemes while building an inclusive and unified Commonwealth in which Africans could play a vital role. Njoku argues that to gratify British lawmakers in her complex and marginal place within the British parliamentary system of conservative versus reformist, Elizabeth’s contribution fell short of African nationalists’ expectations on account of her silence and inaction during the African decolonization raptures. Yet ultimately, the author concludes, she helped build an inclusive and unified organization in which Africans could assert and appropriate political and economic autarky.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

This book will be made open access within three years of publication thanks to Path to Open, a program developed in partnership between JSTOR, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), University of Michigan Press, and The University of North Carolina Press to bring about equitable access and impact for the entire scholarly community, including authors, researchers, libraries, and university presses around the world. Learn more at https://about.jstor.org/path-to-open/

Politics in Publishing

Non-Western perspective on the international history of intellectual property rights

Politics in Publishing focuses on Japan’s involvement in shaping international copyright law over a seventy-year period following the country’s 1899 accession to the Berne Convention, the first multilateral copyright treaty. During this time, Japanese state officials collaborated with various stakeholders such as publishers, translators, and legal experts to strategically influence the international revision process of the treaty. The involvement of these actors in international organizations such as the League of Nations and the United Nations affected global copyright norms even as Japan advanced its imperial – national after 1945 – and capitalist interests.

Taking a previously lacking non-Western perspective on the history of international copyright law, Politics in Publishing highlights the complex interplay between state and private actors and between domestic and international power relations, as well as administrative transformations in the formation of the modern, global international order. Grounded in an impressive body of primary source material, this book will make a substantial contribution to interdisciplinary scholarship on intellectual property, and copyright history in particular.

Ebook available in Open Access. This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Leuven’s College Laboratories

Historical walking guide along the trails of Leuven scientists and their laboratories.

Throughout its history, Leuven University has been home to many famous scientists. The names of cartographer Gerard Mercator, discoverer of gas lighting Jan Pieter Minckelers, chemist Jean-Baptist Van Mons, zoologist Pierre Joseph Van Beneden, and inventor of the Big Bang theory Georges Lemaître live on in the local street scene. The laboratories where they worked were housed in university colleges, repeatedly adapted over the centuries to the requirements of scientific research. With the last of these laboratories soon to move out of the inner city to a campus outside the city, this book outlines the urban history of Leuven’s scientists and their laboratories, taking the reader along the still-visible traces of this remarkable heritage.

Leuven’s College Laboratories: An Urban Walking Guide through 600 Years of Science focuses on the material heritage of science. The book provides an engaging and accessible introduction to the university’s urban history, appealing to a wide audience of interested parties such as alumni, visitors, and tourists.

Painters and Communities in Seventeenth-Century Brussels

Innovative exploration of the Brussels Baroque and the social dimensions of art production.

For many painters in seventeenth-century Brussels, it was not only their artistic talent but also the communities they were part of that determined the course of their careers. This book traces the intricate relationship between social structures and artistic production by examining the lives and works of all 353 painters who became masters in the Brussels Guild of Painters, Goldbeaters, and Stained-Glass Makers between 1599 and 1706. This innovative exploration of a social history of art seamlessly integrates quantitative digital analyses at the macro-level with micro-level qualitative case studies. This fresh approach facilitates a comparative perspective on the various environments in which painters operated, allowing for new readings of how early modern artists – both in Brussels and beyond – created their art, earned a living, and navigated the complexities of urban life. Painters and Communities in Seventeenth-Century Brussels is also the first work to provide a global overview of the Brussels Baroque, including extensive lists with biographical information on all of the city’s master painters.