Speaker Lineup Announced for NOVITATE 2023

Join me in Washington, DC on November 3, for a groundbreaking event

Luke Burgis
3 min readAug 26, 2023


Join me in Washington, DC, for an event that is bringing together Athens, Jerusalem, and Silicon Valley.

I’m excited to finally be able to announce the initial list of speakers, panelists, and presentation sessions for the first ever NOVITATE experience, which I will be hosting in Washington, DC, on November 3, 2023.

This year’s theme, “Be Not Conformed”, will bring together the metaphorical three cities of Athens, Jerusalem, and Silicon Valley to explore new models of thought and desire — this year, by drawing on the ideas of René Girard on the 100th anniversary of his birth. It’s not too late to apply.

Featured Panel Conversations

Here are some of the conversations that will be taking place at NOVITATE 2023:

The Shapes of Water — The Mimetic and the Anti-Mimetic Dimensions of the New Media Landscape
Featuring Substack Co-Founder Hamish McKenzie, writer Walter Kirn, and Renee DiResta, Research Manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, moderated by Ross Douthat of the New York Times

Double Consciousness/Double Bind: Race and Cultural Desire through a Girardian Lens
Featuring Thomas Chatterton Williams, Coleman Hughes, and Professor Lester Spence, moderated by Dr. Hollis Robbins, Dean of the College of Humanities at the University of Utah

Deceit, Desire, and the Modern Novel
Featuring novelists Brandon Taylor, A. Natasha Joukovsky, and Trevor Cribben Merrill, moderated by Professor Kevin Rulo

Imitation, Innovation, and Heresy in the Digital Public Sphere
Featuring Katherine Dee, Tara Isabella Burton, and Nathan Allebach, moderated by Compact’s Geoff Shullenberger

Athens, Jerusalem, and Silicon Valley: Human Flourishing and the Three-City Problem
Featuring Dr. Jeff Frank, Paul Dragos Aligicia (of the Mercatus Center), and Clay Routledge, moderated by Professor William Gonch

Political Atheism: René Girard and the Mediation of Political Desire
Featuring Shadi Hamid, Jerry Bowyer, and Professor Joshua Mitchell, moderated by Justin Lee

Architects of Desire: The Mimetic Building of Brands, Teams, and Culture
Featuring Craig Robbins, Miami Developer; Alexandra Winokur, President, Christian Dior Couture Americas; and Ryan Resch, Assistant General Manager of the Phoenix Suns; moderated by Luke Burgis

Beyond Deceit: Girard and Giussani on the Meaning of Desire
Featuring Stanford’s Maria Elena Monzani, Tyler Graham, and Thomas Deutsch, moderated by Professor Brandon Vaidyanathan

The Medium is the Mimesis: McLuhan, Girard, and the Technologies of Imitation
Featuring Andrew McLuhan, Michael Murphy, and Brett Robinson, moderated by Jon Askonas

Discerning True Freedom: Navigating a Pathway Through One’s Internal World to Find Thick Desire and a Life of Integrity
Featuring Johnathan Bi, Fr. Robert Sirico, and author Cynthia Haven, moderated by Julie Barrios

Law, Desire, & Rivalry
Featuring Oxford University scholars Ryan Meade, Chris Conway, and Edward David

Additional/Individual Sessions

  • “Things Hidden”: Mimesis, Technology, and the Apocalypse with Byrne Hobart and Tobias Huber
  • The Underground Spirit with Darryl Cooper (Martyr Made)
  • “It’s not about who started it, but that we’re all a part of it.” — Toward an Ethos of Insecurity with Father Elias Carr
  • “Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: Inexorable Envy and the Dangerous Ideology of Socialism” with Sherry Ning
  • Aeneas as Founding Murderer: a Girardian investigation of the Aeneid’s closing with Annika Nordquist
  • Fixtures, Forces, and Friends: The Twin Odysseys of René Girard and Bob Dylan with Jeff Takacs
  • Towards a Girardian Critique of Ideology with Geoff Shullenberger
  • Featuring additional sessions by Jon Askonas, Michael Matheson Miller (on the intersection of Von Hildebrand and Girard), Professor Mark Shiffman, and much more

Tickets to the full conference and dinner gala are $350. You must be apply and be accepted in order to buy a ticket. Within 2 weeks of your submitted application, you will be notified of a decision; accepted applications will receive a link via email to register and secure their ticket. Apply by Sept. 15, here.

I hope to see you there!




Luke Burgis

Author of “WANTING: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life.” Find more at read.lukeburgis.com