Advisory Board


René Girard (1923-2015)
Member of the Académie Francaise, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Andrew B. Hammond Professor Emeritus of French and Comparative Literature, Stanford University. Internationally renowned for his work on the nexus between violence and religion as well as his “mimetic theory,” René Girard’s publications have been translated into numerous languages, and the secondary literature on his thought numbers in the hundreds of articles and over fifty full-length books. His major works include: Deceit, Desire and the Novel (Hopkins, 1965); Violence and the Sacred (Hopkins, 1978); Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World (Stanford, 1987); The Scapegoat (Hopkins, 1986); I See Satan Fall like Lightning (Orbis, 2001). His last major work, Battling to the End, was published by Michigan State University Press in 2009. René Girard died on November 4, 2015.


Robert Hamerton-Kelly co-founded Imitatio with René Girard and Peter Thiel in 2007. He was Senior Research Scholar at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford University, where he was also Professor (by courtesy) of Classics and Dean of the Chapel at Memorial Church from 1973 to 1986. A co-founder of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion, he was also editor of Violent Origins: Walter Burkert, René Girard, and Jonathan Z. Smith on Ritual Killing and Cultural Formation (Stanford University Press, 1987). Prof. Hamerton-Kelly died on July 7, 2013.


James Alison (b. London 1959) is a Catholic theologian, Priest, and wandering teacher. He first became inspired by the thought of René Girard in 1985 and since then has been involved in exploring the fecundity of mimetic theory for Systematic Theology. The author of several books in this field, including Knowing JesusRaising Abel  and The Joy of Being Wrong, he has also attempted to allow mimetic theory to interact with the understanding of matters gay as they have impacted the life of the Catholic Church, as is evidenced by his book Faith Beyond Resentment: Fragments Catholic and Gay and his teaching and work accompanying retreats. James is currently at work on a course of adult introduction to the Christian faith, developed from the perspective of Girardian thought. He lives in Brazil but travels frequently all over the world for talks, retreats and courses. An up-to-date collection of James’ writings of can be found on


Jean-Pierre Dupuy is Professor Emeritus of Social and Political Philosophy, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris and Professor of French and Political Science, Stanford University. He is a member of the French Academy of Technology and the Director of Research of Imitatio. His most recent work has dealt with the topic of catastrophe. Among his latest publications: A Short Treatise on the Metaphysics of Tsunamis, MSU Press, 2015; The Mark of the Sacred, Stanford University Press, 2013; On the Origins of Cognitive Science, The MIT Press, 2009.


William A. Johnsen is a Professor of English at Michigan State University, the Editor of Contagion and the book series Studies in Violence, Mimesis, and Culture published by Michigan State University Press. He is the author of Violence and Modernism. Ibsen, Joyce, and Woolf (2003) as well as many essays and articles on Irish, English, and European modernism and mimetic theory. His website is at


Andrew J. McKenna, professor of French language and literature at Loyola University in Chicago, earned a Ph.D. in Romance Languages [French & Spanish] from Johns Hopkins University. For the decade between 1996 and 2006, he was the Editor-in-Chief of Contagion: Journal of Violence, Mimesis, and Culture, 1996-2006. Andrew is the author of Violence and Difference: Girard, Derrida, and Deconstruction as well as numerous articles on French and European literature, literary theory, and film.


Wolfgang Palaver was born in 1958 in Zell am Ziller (Austria). He is professor of Catholic social thought, chair of the Institute for Systematic Theology and the interdisciplinary research platform "World Order – Religion – Violence" at the University of Innsbruck (Austria). He served as president of the "Colloquium on Violence and Religion" from 2007 to 2011. He has written articles and books on Thomas Hobbes, Carl Schmitt, and on the relationship between religion and violence. His most recent books are René Girard's Mimetic Theory (2013);Passions in Economy, Politics, and the Media (Ed. with P. Steinmair-Pösel; 2005), Aufgeklärte Apokalyptik (Ed. with A. Exenberger and K. Stöckl; 2007) and Westliche Moderne, Christentum und Islam (Ed. with R. Siebenrock and D. Regensburger; 2008).