Sexuality and Personal Identity between Augustine and Foucault

Online e in presenza

Fondazione Bruno Kessler - Polo delle Scienze Umane e sociali
Aula piccola

Online e in presenza

Fondazione Bruno Kessler - Polo delle Scienze Umane e sociali
Aula piccola

FBK-ISR International Seminar 2023

The goal of the webinar is to investigate the relationship between sexual life and personal identity in light of the posthumous fourth volume of Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality (Les aveux de la chair, Gallimard, 2018; tr. it. 2019). The argument begins from the question of the coexistence of both a personal and a subpersonal level in sexual pleasure. From this angle, a rather conventional picture of human sexuality and its antinomies (personal or subpersonal character of erotic pleasures and imaginaries, activity or passivity of desire, centered or decentered nature of human sensuousness, etc.) is outlined. This standard picture is then historically contextualized and theoretically deconstructed on the basis of Foucault’s last works. Only at this point, the focus of the discussion is shifted from the context to one of the crucial elements of Foucault’s investigation into the changes of sexual ethics in early Christianity. Here, the reductive nature of the interpretation of Augustine developed in the last part of the book is critically examined in view of the theologically vital tension between cupiditas and ordinata dilectio.

Scientific coordination:
Massimo Leone, Director FBK-ISR


Cycle of seminars: “(Dis)Embodiment in Religion and Ethics”


The seminar will be held in Italian

The presentation will be in-person in the FBK Aula Piccola while seats last and online

Registration by February 20, 2023 at 12:00 a.m. is required in order to arrange the connection



Affresco di Schweitzer



  • Paolo Costa is a tenured researcher at the Center for Religious Studies of the Bruno Kessler Foundation. He is the author of The Post-Secular City: The New Secularization Debate (Brill, 2022). His next book, due out in April, is: L'arte dell'essenziale. Un'escursione filosofica nelle Terre alte.


Registration to this event is mandatory.

Registration closed on 20/02/2023.



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