Letters from Lake Como and Other Approaches: Guardini and Heidegger on Technology

Oct 20 2–5:30pm
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Peter J. CasarellaDuke Divinity School


Open to current graduate students and faculty. Advanced undergraduates and others interested in participating should contact All registrants will receive a copy of the required reading, which should be read in advance of the class. An optional wine and cheese reception will follow. 

This master class is cosponsored by the In Lumine Network and made possible through the support of ‘In Lumine: Supporting the Catholic Intellectual Tradition on Campuses Nationwide’ (Grant #62372) from the John Templeton Foundation. 

This masterclass will cover Romano Guardini’s Letters from Lake Como, written between 1923-1925, and will focus on the relationship between technology, human nature, and culture. It will take a special interest in his discussion of how some modern technology disrupts man’s historical and traditional relationship to nature. Some modern technology, Guardini argues, makes man into a dominator of nature instead of one who works in harmony with it. This significant difference alters man’s understanding of his relationship to humanity, to God, and to the cosmos.

Guardini’s critique of technology both influences and departs from Martin Heidegger's famous treatment in his “The Question Concerning Technology.” The master class will conclude with a comparison of Guardini and Heidiegger.


Required: Guardini, Romano. Letters from Lake Como: Explorations in Technology and the Human Race. Ressourcement : Retrieval & Renewal in Catholic Thought, 1994.

Recommended: Heidegger, Martin. “The Question Concerning Technology.” In The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, translated by William Lovitt, 3-36. New York and London: Garland Punlishing Inc., 1977.

The readings will be available at Gavin House (1220 E. 58th Street) Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm. Please email David Strobach at to let us know you are coming.


1:30-2:00 | Pre-event coffee and cookies

2:00-3:20 | Session 1

3:20-3:40 | Break

3:40-5:00 | Session 2

5:00-5:30 | Reception

Peter J. Casarella is Professor of Theology at Duke Divinity School. He received his PhD in Religious Studies at Yale University. Casarella previously served as professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Notre Dame and as director of the Latin American North American Church Concerns (LANACC) project in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. Casarella has served as president of The American Cusanus Society, The Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians in the U.S. (ACHTUS), and the Academy of Catholic Theologians (ACT). He is currently serving a second five-year term on the International Roman Catholic-Baptist World Alliance Ecumenical Dialogue and served also on the Roman Catholic-World Communion of Reformed Churches Dialogue. He has authored or edited several books, including: Cuerpo de Cristo: The Hispanic Presence in the U.S. Catholic Church (1998), A World for All? Global Civil Society in Political Theory and Trinitarian Theology (2011), and most recently, Word as Bread: Language and Theology in Nicholas of Cusa (2017)