Mimetic Living and the Future of Change (Rocks Have No Backs)

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


The Mimetic Turn, International Conference, Homo Mimeticus Project (ERC), KU Leuven, 20-22 April 2022

ABSTRACT — Taking my cue from James Scott’s opening provocation-question in “Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States” (“How did Homo sapiens sapiens come, so very recently in its species history, to live in crowded, sedentary communities packed with domesticated livestock and a handful of cereal grains?” — 2017: 1), in this paper I engage with both past and present forms of mimetic density and acceleration, including current calls for radical metamorphosis (Latour 2021) and the new dawn of everything (Graeber and Wengrow 2021), to advance the counter-position I took recently around a further question: “Can we change the way we change?” (Pedriali 2021: 169). In that essay, I went on to suspect that the involved you of the reader had rather I disagreed with the implications of my question. This is why on this occasion I want to insist just once more, and put the further “Could you have stopped us?” I phrased there (2021: 169, 171) to the renewed test of productive disagreement with dominant theoretical positions on the futurability of change for our mimetic species.
Period22 Apr 2022
Held atKU Leuven, Belgium
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Mimetic Theory
  • Material Culture
  • Neolithic (Neolithisation)
  • Ice Age (Cave Art)
  • Holocene
  • Future Studies
  • Anthropocene
  • Future of Change