July 10-14, 2013
University of Northern Iowa


Between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, a self-sustaining eco-system that now comprises the state of Iowa was created over thousands of years. In 1800, 240 million acres of tall grass prairie covered middle America. By 1900, this land had been transformed into farm fields, and the foundations for large-scale industrial agriculture had been laid. Today, this land has already lost half of its rich black topsoil –thousands of years in creation– and the soil continues to lose both depth and quality. Changes in the land and a warming climate have made us more vulnerable to both drought and flood. Pesticides, fertilizers, fecal bacteria and antibiotics regularly turn up in our lakes and streams, and sometimes in our drinking water. The nutrients escaping from our fields cause a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, killing marine life. As family farms consolidate into industrialized farming operations, towns empty and traditional ways of life in rural America disappear.

At this conference, we will reflect together on the significance of this change. The impact of industrial agriculture on the land captures in close frame key ecological issues of our time. Ecological questions call for robust engagement by mimetic theory. In dialogue with scientists and theologians who focus on ecology, we will highlight this important topic at our 2013 gathering.

“Humanity is more than ever the author of its own fall because it has become able to destroy its world.”

-René Girard

  • The Call for Papers is broadly inclusive. In addition to proposals on the conference theme, we welcome topics that span the breadth of mimetic theory.
  • Our special emphasis on lynching will continue with a plenary session focused on new research presentations.
  • We plan opportunities for members of the Colloquium who are practitioners in fields outside of the academy to talk together about the application of mimetic theory in non-academic contexts. Proposals are invited on this topic also.
  • We especially welcome graduate students and young scholars. Housing options include inexpensive dormitories.
  • We will explore new conversational formats. Conference keynotes will feature breakout sessions for discussion. Seminars will feature papers predistributed to conference participants. Round table discussions and “mimetic theory in minutes” sessions will facilitate informal discussions about emerging and developing applications of mimetic theory. Other new ways of presenting ideas and sharing them with others are welcome.

Note: Daily flights into local airports are almost always full. Therefore, persons planning to attend the conference are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets as soon as possible (December and January). Pack the planes! Please see the “Travel and Accommodations” section of this website for further information about travel. Because a wide range of formats for conference presentations will offer persons who respond to the Call for Papers a variety of opportunities to contribute to the conference, participants need not wait for an acceptance letter prior to booking a flight.

Conference Contact
Professor Martha Reineke
Dept. of Philosophy and World Religions
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0501

Conference website: http://www.vpaf.uni.edu/events/COVandR/index.shtml