MIMESIS Munich Doctoral Program for Literature and the Arts

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In the International Doctoral Program (IDP) MIMESIS the term mimesis is not only designated as the subject of individual research projects but also offers an integrative notion for the entire program and a conceptual challenge for the art forms, practices and areas involved.

A foundational term since literature and the arts first became the focus of reflection, mimesis has remained a key concept throughout the history of aesthetic work and thinking, right up to the most recent developments in critical and cultural theory. Mimesis offers a wide range of possible translations:

“imitation”, “representation”, “presentation”, “exhibition”, “impersonation”, “simulation”, “emulation”, “reproduction”, “repetition”, ”travesty”, “parody”, “reflection”, “copy”, including also abstracts terms like “realism” or “identification”.

Thus, the term suggests an inclusive sphere of interests and issues which any engagement with literature and the arts must address. Although not all art is or purports to be mimetic, the very concept of art is inconceivable without a theory of mimesis. And with this theory, aesthetics offers indeed a foundation for central anthropological, psychological and other cultural discourses, too.


The research profile and curricular program of the IDP is structured into three categories: the foundational areas A and B (core elements and obligatory modules for all members of the school to take) and the explorational areas C 1-3 (facultative elements and options only one of which will be required for each member). Furthermore, every graduate student in the IDP will explore the vocational area P with an internship in one of the partner institutions. Areas A and B will be covered by core seminars. Master classes and other formats will explore the explorational areas C 1-3.