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

Oct 20, 2023
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Peter 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 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 Casarella was appointed to the faculty of Duke Divinity School in 2020. His primary field of study is systematic theology followed by world religions and world church. Before joining Duke,  he was an associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame from 2013-2020 and served as director of the Latin American North American Church Concerns (LANACC) project in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. He served as professor of Catholic Studies from 2007-2013 at DePaul University, where he was also the founding director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology. He has published ninety-one essays in scholarly journals or books on a variety of topics including medieval Christian Neoplatonism, contemporary theological aesthetics, intercultural thought, and the Hispanic/Latino presence in the U.S. Catholic Church.