At institutions worldwide, Mimetic Theory is cropping up in coursework in a wide variety of disciplines. Because the theory is grounded in ideas developed in the fields of anthropology, psychology, sociology, economics, literature, theology, and more, instructors are showing creative and thoughtful ways of introducing students to both the elegance and far-reaching capacity that Girard’s ideas offer. Sometimes these courses use mimetic theory as their central theme; other courses make use of the theory as one of several paradigms illuminating a course theme.

For those of you interested in incorporating Mimetic Theory into your coursework, you may find the list of syllabi below to be helpful in thinking about your presentation of mimetic theory and in contemplating which resources may serve your students well.

It is our intention to continue growing this list of syllabi available to COV&R members.  If you have a syllabus that you would like to share with members, please email your file.

Literature, Film, Communication Studies

Gruenler - Introduction to Literary Theory

Dr. Curtis Gruenler, Professor of English and Director of General Education at Hope College

This course explores a variety of texts from different genres. The course is designed to increase students' skill and confidence in reading literature (especially the close reading of poetry and prose), to practice the interpretation of texts through representative contemporary critical methods, and to enhance students' enjoyment of reading, discussing, and writing about literature.

Introduction to Literary Theory Syllabus

Reichert - Monsters and Scapegoats

Martin Reichert, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, New York University

The course looks at ancient concepts of monsters, strangers, and "others". Theoretical readings support thematic examinations of some of the usual suspects.

Monsters and Scapegoats Syllabus

Johnsen - Literature and Medicine

William A. Johnsen, Professor of Twentieth-century British Literature and Modernism

Students use their gifts of reading and writing in the service of the authors they have read together. Their job is to help their reader learn to read the selected authors with greater attention and understanding.

Literature & Medicine Syllabus

Rose - Advanced Issues in Digital Media and Culture

Dr. Phil Rose, Adjunct Professor Communication Studies, York University/McMaster University

This course investigates some of the transformative effects of digital communications technologies within realms of culture as diverse as politics, commerce, finance, contemporary warfare, and morality.

Advanced Issues in Digital Media and Culture Syllabus

Rose - Communication Theory

Dr. Phil Rose, Adjunct Professor Communication Studies, York University/McMaster University

An introduction to various theories on the organization, use and manipulation of communication, including semiotics, sociolinguistics, interpersonal communication, group communications and performance. Also considered is how this study of communication theory can facilitate community engagement.

Communication Theory Syllabus

Rose - Nonverbal Communication

Dr. Phil Rose, Adjunct Professor Communication Studies, York University/McMaster University

This interdisciplinary course surveys and explores the various forms of nonverbal communication, particularly as they relate to the intersection of human nature and culture. The course will also address how these forms intersect with the sensory modalities of audition, vision, haptics, taste and sense.

Nonverbal Communication Syllabus

Rose - Religious Issues in Performance Studies

Dr. Phil Rose, Adjunct Professor Communication Studies, York University/McMaster University

This course serves to synthesize and expand students' engagement with issues in performance studies through the examination of writings and podcasts that draw on anthropology, phenomenology, materialist analysis, psychoanalysis, gender theory, postmodernism, postcolonialism, and intercultural reception.

Religious Issues in Performance Studies Syllabus

Cultural Studies & the Social Sciences

Reichert - Monsters and Scapegoats

Martin Reichert, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, New York University

The course looks at ancient concepts of monsters, strangers, and "others". Theoretical readings support thematic examinations of some of the usual suspects.

Monsters and Scapegoats Syllabus

Reichert - Terror in the Name of God: Religious Violence

Martin Reichert, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, New York University

Students study critical thinkers who seek to understand the contemporary cultural, political and religious crisis, and test them on recent incidents. Students also examine the lives and work of people who have tried to find a nonviolent way out, only to trigger more violence; Gandhi, King.

Terror in the Name of God Syllabus

Reineke - Violence and Religion in a Time of Terrorism

Martha J. Reineke, Ph.D., Professor of Religion, Department of Philosophy and World Religions, University of Northern Iowa

In this course, we will look first at the interpersonal dimensions of mimetic violence.  We will use Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as our guide because mimetic desire and violence is often most clearly visible to persons who have never previously thought about it in descriptions found in literature.  The authors of our great works of literature have been experts at describing mimesis, violence, and scapegoating.  Subsequently, we will turn to religion and explore the sacred narratives of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in order to understand the phenomenon of scapegoating and mimetic violence within the context of these major Western faith traditions.

Religion and Violence in a Time of Terrorism Syllabus

Theology & Religious Studies

Abshire - Christian Perspectives on Violence and Peace

Dr. William E. Abshire, The Anna B. Mow Endowed Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Department Chair of Philosophy and Religion, Bridgewater College

Biblical historical and social attitudes toward violence and peace including a study of political social and scientific factors that affect violence at the interpersonal and through war at the international levels of human experience. A seminar approach is used.

Christian Perspectives on Violence and Peace Syllabus

Bellinger - Special Topics in Christian Thought: René Girard and Theology

Charles Bellinger, Theological Librarian and Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University

This course addresses the key themes in the writings of Rene Girard, with a view to the impact his thought has had on theological reflection. Particular attention will be paid to the topics of biblical revelation, christology, trinity, atonement, anthropology, ethics, and preaching.

Girard and Theology Syllabus

Bellinger - Violence and Religion

Charles Bellinger, Theological Librarian and Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University

This course explores the highly ambiguous relationship between religious faith and violence. It provides an overview of situations in modern history that are examples of this ambiguous relationship, including terrorism and the responses it provokes. Students are exposed to authors who seek to comprehend violent behavior using explanatory theories. Students are also exposed to theological arguments relating violence and atonement. The goal is to allow students in the course to develop an understanding of various dimensions (ethical, social, psychological, political, and theological) of the relationship between religious faith and intentional actions that result in ending human lives.

Religion and Violence Syllabus

Reichert - Monsters and Scapegoats

Martin Reichert, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, New York University

The course looks at ancient concepts of monsters, strangers, and "others". Theoretical readings support thematic examinations of some of the usual suspects.

Monsters and Scapegoats Syllabus

Reichert - Terror in the Name of God: Religious Violence

Martin Reichert, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, New York University

Students study critical thinkers who seek to understand the contemporary cultural, political and religious crisis, and test them on recent incidents. Students also examine the lives and work of people who have tried to find a nonviolent way out, only to trigger more violence; Gandhi, King.

Terror in the Name of God Syllabus

Reineke - Violence and Religion in a Time of Terrorism

Martha J. Reineke, Ph.D., Professor of Religion, Department of Philosophy and World Religions, University of Northern Iowa

In this course, we will look first at the interpersonal dimensions of mimetic violence.  We will use Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as our guide because mimetic desire and violence is often most clearly visible to persons who have never previously thought about it in descriptions found in literature.  The authors of our great works of literature have been experts at describing mimesis, violence, and scapegoating.  Subsequently, we will turn to religion and explore the sacred narratives of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in order to understand the phenomenon of scapegoating and mimetic violence within the context of these major Western faith traditions.

Religion and Violence in a Time of Terrorism Syllabus

Rose - Religious Issues in Performance Studies

Dr. Phil Rose, Adjunct Professor Communication Studies, York University/McMaster University

This course serves to synthesize and expand students' engagement with issues in performance studies through the examination of writings and podcasts that draw on anthropology, phenomenology, materialist analysis, psychoanalysis, gender theory, postmodernism, postcolonialism, and intercultural reception.

Religious Issues in Performance Studies Syllabus