Photo Credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service



One of the most influential 20th century Catholic thinkers, René Girard transformed our understanding of culture, religion, and human behavior. His “mimetic theory" builds on the demystifying power of the Old and New Testaments to illuminate the religious history of mankind. Through an intensive reading of his more accessible works, in conjunction with the fiction of the greatest writers, this five-day seminar will explore Girard’s key insights into imitation, conflict, and scapegoating, connecting them to central themes of Christian theology.

Format: There will be two 2.5-hour sessions on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, the morning session will be followed by a post-lunch excursion. Each session will a seminar-style discussion of the text and the issues at hand. Students will be expected to prepare the readings carefully, submit study questions in advance, and participate actively in each session.

Location: The seminar will take place at a retreat center in Los Angeles from July 26-30 (there will be an opening dinner on the evening of July 25th, and students will be expected to arrive at 5pm) with lodging provided from Sunday evening through Saturday morning. Participants will be provided with lodging and meals for the duration of the seminar, and a travel stipend of up to $350.

Application Requirements: This seminar is open to all undergraduate students (including 2021 graduates) interested in understanding the thought of one of the great modern Christian apologists.

 Applicants will be required to submit an online application form including:

  • A list of completed coursework.
  • At least one and as many as two letter(s) of recommendation from a professor at the school in which the student is currently enrolled.
  • A statement of interest no longer than 750 words, which includes an explanation of how this seminar might bear on the student’s current intellectual interests.

All application materials can be submitted via the online application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Fifteen applicants will be admitted to this seminar. Application materials are due May 1.