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Girard x McLuhan: The Medium is the Mimesis

A conversation between Andrew McLuhan, Brett Robinson, and Michael Murphy, moderated by Jon Askonas

I am pleased to bring you what I believe is a groundbreaking (and long overdue) conversation about the interdisciplinary work of two luminaries of twentieth century thought: René Girard and Marshall McLuhan. The connections between these thinkers has not been adequately explored.

This trialogue took place at the 2023 NOVITATE conference, which I hosted at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC this past November.

The conversation explores the “Technologies of Imitation” in our world today—a topic that all of us, I think, would be wise to become acquainted with quickly.

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.

The Interlocutors

, McLuhan Institute. Andrew is a poet, author, teacher, and director of The McLuhan Institute, established in 2017 to preserve and bring forward the pioneering work of Marshall McLuhan and his son, Eric McLuhan.

Brett Robinson, Director of Communications and Catholic Media Studies at the McGrath Institute for Church Life, Notre Dame. Brett has taught media studies courses at Duquesne University, the University of Georgia, Saint Vincent College and Notre Dame. Brett is the author of Appletopia: Media Technology and the Religious Imagination of Steve Jobs and his essays and commentary on technology and culture have been featured in Wired Magazine, CNN, the LA Times, and Catholic News Service.

Michael Murphy, Director of Loyola’s Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage. Mike’s research interests are in Theology and Literature, Systematic Theology, and the literary/political cultures of Catholicism— but he also thinks and writes about issues in mimetic theory, social ethics, and Ignatian pedagogy. His first book, A Theology of Criticism: Balthasar, Postmodernism, and the Catholic Imagination (Oxford), was named a “Distinguished Publication” in 2008 by the American Academy of Religion. His most recent scholarly work is Panem et Circenses: Michel Houellebecq, Submission, and the Liturgies of Spiritual Exhaustion in The Call of Literature (Forthcoming from Routledge in 2024). Mike is currently at work on a monograph entitled The Humane Realists: Catholic Fiction, Poetry, and Film 1965-2020.

Moderator: Jon Askonas, Assistant professor of Politics at The Catholic University of America. He works connections between the republican tradition, technology, and national security. He is currently working on two books: A Muse of Fire: Why the U.S. Military Forgets What It Learns in War, on what happens to war-time innovations when the war is over and The Shot in the Dark: A History of the U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group, the first comprehensive overview of a unit that helped the Army adapt to the post 9/11 era of counterinsurgency and global power competition. His writing has appeared in Russian Analytical Digest, Triple Helix, The New Atlantis, Fare Forward, War on the Rocks, Unherd, and the Texas National Security Review.

Luke Burgis Newsletter
Luke Burgis Newsletter
Pursuing the mysterium tremendum et fascinans and writing at the intersection of philosophy, culture, art, technology, and religious wisdom.