‘Pre-human, Human, Post-human: Generative Anthropology and Mimetic Theory in Conversation with Cognitive Studies,’ Generative Anthropology Society Conference (GASC). University of Stockholm, Sweden, June 8-10
The GASC for 2017, “Pre-human, Human, Post-human: Generative Anthropology and Mimetic Theory in Conversation with Cognitive Studies”, will be held at the University of Stockholm, Sweden June 8-10, featuring plenary speakers William Flesch, Eric Gans and Peter Gärdenfors.
The conference will initiate a dialogue between Generative Anthropology, mimetic theory, and cognitive science. Some philosophers of cognitive science agree with Generative Anthropology that the development of language marked the appearance of symbolic thinking. While cognitive scientists argue that this capacity has enabled advanced forms of cooperation, Generative Anthropology and mimetic theory emphasize the emergence of ethics as a response to mimetic violence. The cognitive and anthropological perspectives, however, converge in their recognition of a specifically human cultural consciousness on a scene of representation, making dialogue urgent and valuable, with the potential to generate new ways of thinking about human interactions, violence and conflict resolution, as well as diverse cultural expressions and aesthetic forms.
What might be seen as the anthropocentrism uniting cognitive science, on the one hand, and Generative Anthropology and mimetic theory, on the other, need not exclude dialogue with those theories of the post-human that have critiqued the effort to distinguish and therefore privilege the human as an anthropocentric denial of other forms of subjectivity. Such views point to our anthropocentric blindness as a cause of political and environmental crises, but the anthropocentrism addressed by such critiques may simply represent insufficiently “scenic” understandings of the human. Both sides in this debate might benefit from testing their views against one another. Seeking an ever broader and more productive conversation, we invite papers that engage with GA on both sides of the debate. Topics might include, but are not limited to:
- The anthropology of symbolic thinking
- The evolution or history of cultural and aesthetic forms
- Evolutionary game theory
- Mimetic theory (René Girard)
- Narratology, including cognitive narratology and affective narratology
- Literature on the scene of representation
- Animal Studies, Ecocriticism, Posthumanism, Affect theory, Neo-vitalism
- Object-oriented ontology
- Sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics, Sociology of language