William A. Johnsen

William A Johnsen is Professor & Editor in the Department of English at Michigan State University.

For the last ten years he has edited Contagion, the journal of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion, as well as two book series, Studies in Violence Mimesis and Culture, and Breakthroughs in Mimetic Theory, all published at Michigan State University Press.

He publishes in the areas of modern/postmodern European literature and theory, on Flaubert, Henry James, Conrad, Yeats, contemporary Irish literature. His book Violence and Modernism. Ibsen, Joyce, and Woolf (UPF, 2003) has also appeared in Portuguese (Biblioteca René Girard, É Realizações, 2011). Recently he has published « Mimetic Theory, Religion and Literature as Secular Scripture, » in the Palgrave Handbook on Mimetic Theory and Religion (2017);  Wilfred Owen’s ‘Strange Meeting’ and René Girard’s Clausewitzian Apocalypse, » in Cosmopolis (2017); « Joseph Conrad and the Secular Scripture, » in Trópoς (2017); forthcoming in April 2019 will be « Introduction to the thought of René Girard, » and « Mimetic Theory, the Wall Paintings, and the Domestication, De-Domestication, and Sacrifice of Cattle at Çatalhöyük, » in Violence and the Sacred in the Ancient Near East. Girardian Conversations at Çatalhöyük (CUP).

His current project is to propose a mimetic history of nationalism/postnationalism by carefully reflecting on the fiction of Joseph Conrad, Chinua Achebe, and Dermot Bolger for models of nonviolent association and identity, what Girard called beautifully and simply « les appartenances. » 

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