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Ancient World seminar - NIKI CLEMENTS (Rice University): 'What Foucault Learnt from Late Ancient Christianity'

When:Tu 14-05-2024 16:15 - 17:30
Where:Room 235, Faculty of Religion, Culture and Society

CRASIS: Culture, Religion and Society – Interdisciplinary Studies in the Ancient World

This CRASIS talk will explore the relationship between sexuality and early Christian monasticism. Over the last decade of his life, Michel Foucault drafts and redrafts his History of Sexuality series. And between 1974 and 1984, he becomes increasingly invested in late ancient and then ancient discourses on sexual ethics. The 2018 posthumous publication of History of Sexuality: Volume 4, Les aveux de la chair, leaves us with no doubt as to the importance of late ancient askesis and spiritual direction in  his "sex series." So what did Foucault learn from late antiquity? How did he come to engage the work of the monk and theologian John Cassian as a particular site for understanding modern confessional subjection? And how does he end up extolling virginity as an art of living in the church father Gregory of Nyssa? In this talk, I will stage how Foucault transformed his sex series into an inquiry into ethics through the fulcrum of late ancient Christianity.

Afterwards, there will be free drinks for anyone interested for which no registration is required.  If you would like to join the dinner after the drinks, please register by sending an email to

See the CRASIS website for more information.