International, Interdisciplinary

COV&R is a dynamic, international association of scholars and practitioners from many disciplines who are dedicated to developing, critiquing, and applying René Girard’s mimetic theory. Colloquium members are energized by the potential for renewal in the social sciences and humanities that mimetic theory makes possible. As scholars and practitioners have applied Girard’s insights about the connection between imitation and violence to religious studies, biblical hermeneutics, philosophy, literature, film studies, sociology and anthropology, economics, psychology, political science exciting discoveries and research avenues have become available.

Workable Theory of Religion

As issues of religion and violence beg for analysis and understanding, COV&R is uniquely positioned to make a valuable contribution to the search for new, more useful theoretical frameworks. As a related scholarly organization of the American Academy of Religions, COV&R sponsors and co-sponsors sessions at the AAR Annual Meeting to explore the ongoing salience of mimetic theory and the diverse ways Girard’s thought illuminates themes and issues in the study of religion.

Open Membership Policy

Unique among scholarly organizations, COV&R membership and attendance at annual conferences is open to lay people interested in direct engagement with scholars. Pastors and Christian educators attend with parishioners interested in theology and biblical studies. Professors attend with their students to provide them with experiences at academic conferences. And life-long learners thrill at this exceptional educational opportunity. The COV&R scholars are always gratified to engage with those whose faith, relationships and sense of self is being impacted by their research.

Annual Meeting

Members of COV&R have been meeting annually since 1990, both in and outside North America. The annual meeting brings new and longtime scholars of mimetic theory together to discuss how mimetic theory relates to other discourses. This meeting draws between 125 and 200 people, including many non-members. Information on member benefits and how to join COV&R is available here.

COV&R Board

The COV&R Board is comprised of Officers and Elected Members. Contact information for the current Board as well as the Editors of COV&R Publications are listed below. The Constitution contains complete information about the organization and is available to Members here.

Partner Organizations

Learn about our partner organizations.

COV&R Board of Directors

Honorary Chair

René Girard, Stanford University/USA  (1923 – 2015)

Honorary Members

Cesáreo Bandera, University of North Carolina/USA
Eric Gans, UCLA, Ca./USA
Raymund Schwager, University of Innsbruck/Austria (1935 – 2004)
James G. Williams, Syracuse University/USA
Robert Hamerton-Kelly, Imitatio, Stanford/USA (1938 – 2013)
Charles Mabee, Oakland University/USA
Wolfgang Palaver, University of Innsbruck/Austria

COV&R Officers

Martha J. Reineke, President, University of Northern Iowa/USA
Nikolaus Wandinger, Executive Secretary, Universität Innsbruck/Austria
Sherwood Belangia, Treasurer/Independent Scholar/USA
William A. Johnsen, Editor of CONTAGION, Michigan State University/USA
Curtis Gruenler, Editor of the COV&R Bulletin, Hope College/USA
Grant Kaplan, Coordinator of COV&R Session at the AAR Annual Meeting, St. Louis University/USA
Maura Junius, Editor of Website and Social Media, Raven Foundation/USA

Elected Members

Ángel Barahona, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria/Spain
Marinela Blaj, The Schuman Centre for European Studies/Romania
Erik Buys, Sint-Jozefscollege/Belgium
Tania Checchi, Colegio de Saberes, Mexico
Wilhelm Guggenburger, University of Innsbruck/Austria
Joel Hodge, Australian Catholic University/Australia
Stephen McKenna, Speech and Writing Consultant/USA
Matthew Packer, Independent Scholar/New Zealand
Roberto Solarte,  Pontificia Universidad Javeriana/Colombia
Petra Steinmair-Pösel, UKPH Edith Stein
Susan Wright, Theology and Peace/USA

Contact Details


Martha J. Reineke
Department of Philosophy and World Religions
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0501, USA

COV&R Executive Secretary:

Department of Systematic Theology
Universität Innsbruck
Innsbruck, Austria


Curtis Gruenler
Dept. of English
Hope College
126 E. 10th Street
Holland, MI 49422-9000, USA


William A. Johnsen
Department of English
Michigan State University
C703 Wells Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Office Phone: ++ (517) 432-3375

Editor of the Bibliography of Literature on the Mimetic Theory

Dietmar Regensburger
Institute for Systematic Theology
University of Innsbruck
Karl Rahner Platz 1
A-6020 Innsbruck /Austria
Fax: ++ 43 512 507-9839


[Note: Information on membership payments and billing information should be directed to: COV&R Membership Services page on the PDC site.] 

Sherwood Belangia
3206 West Wimbledon Drive
Augusta, GA 30909/ USA

Coordinator of COV&R Session at the AAR Annual Meeting

Grant Kaplan
Department of Theological Studies
St. Louis University
3800 Lindell Blvd #247
St. Louis, MO 63108-3414, USA
For more information about the AAR and its annual meeting, please visit the AAR website.