Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Faculty of Philosophy Organization Departments Department of the History of Philosophy Groningen Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Thought


Upcoming: Interfaculty seminar series Winter-Spring 2024:

The Making and Unmaking of Selfhood. Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Ascetic Practices, between Philosophy and Religion

Organized by Andrea Sangiacomo (Philosophy), Arjen Bakker (Religious Studies), and Federico Minzoni (Philosophy and Religious Studies)

decorative image
Escher ribbon face

See the full program (dates, speakers, abstracts and how to register).

This interfaculty seminar addresses the themes of selfhood, subject-formation, and subject-overcoming, considering the doctrinal embedding of ascetic practices as well as their performative unfolding. Which strategies do human beings develop to address, enact and think about their humanity? How do ‘spiritual exercises’, performance, and other embodied practices affect the way in which selfhood is conceptualized or transformed?

In this seminar series, we shall look at self-shaping techniques in different religious and philosophical contexts of Antiquity, ranging from the Graeco-Roman world to classical India and China. The starting point of our conversation is the assumption that selfhood is not a given, but the contingent and open-ended expression of specific social, cultural and historical conditions. Building on the refusal of any essentialist account of subjectivity, we aim to analyze the subject as a process, inquiring the crucial role played by ascetic practices and doctrines in constructing and deconstructing the self, both at the social and at the individual level.

Each meeting features two speakers who will present different perspectives on a common theme, laying the basis for an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural exchange in the discussion that will follow.

Last modified:13 February 2024 2.14 p.m.