Mimesis, Ethics and Style; Helsinki, 25.-27.8.2010

Mimesis, Ethics and Style
International Conference on Literary Representation

University of Helsinki


Finnish Academy Research Project Styles of Mimesis solicits submissions for the conference “Mimesis, Ethics and Style” hosted by the Department of Finnish Language and Literature, University of Helsinki, Finland.

The conference aims to bring together the interconnected though often separately studied questions of style and mimesis and open up a new kind of discussion not only on the relationship between style and representation but also on the ways literary texts engage ethics and ideology. It explores the ways in which literature produces its peculiar reality effects and negotiates its relationship to value systems connecting it to the world of everyday experience and ethics, as well as to different ideologies, emotions, world views and fields of knowledge. By inviting re-readings of the classical conceptions of mimesis as imitation and copying, we hope to bring new insights to the concept of intertextuality as well as to the idea of style imitations.

The keynote speakers for the conference:

Robert Doran is Assistant Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Rochester, and the author of a number of recent articles on Auerbach, mimesis and literary history. He is currently working towards a volume titled The Sublime: Cultural Aesthetics from Longinus to Nietzsche. He is also the editor of Mimesis and Theory: Essays on Literature and Criticism, 1953-2005 (2008), a collection which brings together twenty of René Girard's uncollected essays on literature and literary theory.

Stephen Halliwell is Professor of Greek at the University of St Andrews. His research interests cover a wide area of the history and criticism of ancient Greek literature and the Classical Tradition, including attitudes to laughter, the theory of tragedy and Greek theatre practice. In 2002 he published The Aesthetics of Mimesis: Ancient Texts and Modern Problems, and his current project is a book entitled Between Ecstasy and Truth: Values and Problems in Greek Conceptions of Poetry.

Professor Jonathan Hart is the Director of the Comparative Literature Program at the University of Alberta. His research interests include cultural history and comparative Canadian and American studies, as well as the visual representations of the New World. Professor Hart is the editor of The Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, and his most recent publications are Interpreting Cultures: Literature, Religion and the Human Sciences (2006) and Comparing Empires: European Colonialism from Portuguese Expansion to the Spanish-American War (2008).

Professor Patricia Waugh from the Department of English Studies at the University of Durham has published widely on the relationship between literature, philosophy and science, and is the co-organiser of the 2008-2009 Institute of Advanced Study workshop series on ‘Thinking with Feeling’ on literature, philosophy and the cognitive sciences. The third edition of her seminal Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction will be published by Routledge in 2009, and her new volume The Two Cultures: Literature, Science and the Good Society is forthcoming in 2010.

We invite Professors, Scholars and Doctoral Students to send proposals for original twenty-minute papers discussing the various aspects of:

Concepts of Mimesis
Ethics of Representation
Mimesis, Knowledge and Cognition
Mimesis as Style (Intertextuality, Parody, Pastiche)
Reality Effect and Concepts of Literary Realism
Mimesis and Allegory

Comparative and interdisciplinary approaches are very welcome. Audiovisual equipment will be available in the conference rooms.

Please e-mail proposals for papers (max. 500 words) with a short CV or a biographical summary to the following address: mimesisconference(at)gmail.com by January 31st, 2010.

The conference is organised in cooperation with the Finnish Graduate School of Literary Studies.

The organising committee:
Professor Pirjo Lyytikäinen (Project Director)
Dr Riikka Rossi (Conference Chair)
Dr Minna Maijala (Graduate School Coordinator)
Dr Saija Isomaa
Assistant Professor Sari Kivistö
Sanna Nyqvist, MA
Dr Merja Polvinen

More details on the project Styles of Mimesis can be found at the website http://www.eng.helsinki.fi/mimesis/index.htm