A Dialogue between Journalist and Film Director
Antonio MONDA, author of Do You Believe? Conversations on God and Religion and Paolo VALESIO, Department of Italian, Columbia University
Presented by Crossroads Cultural Center and Columbia Catholic Ministry
In collaboration with the Italian Department at Columbia
The idea of the “Face to face...” series is to create an occasion for our audience to meet not some interesting ideas but rather an interesting person, somebody whose work and experience can teach us something. “An interesting person” is certainly a good way to describe our guest, Mr. Antonio Monda.
He was famously described by the New York Times as "the most well-connected cultural figure you've never heard of," which of course is no longer accurate since many of us have heard of him at least because of his remarkable book of interviews, Do you believe? We would like to mention only one aspect of Mr. Monda's work that we find striking. It is the way in which he understands that, deep down, culture is always about the human person. Whereas many people today tend to reduce man ideologically (say, to biological, sociological or psychological factors), Mr. Monda is aware that there is something irreducible about a human person, about its questions and needs. This is especially clear when discussing religion. Nowadays religion is a hot topic, but it is almost always discussed as a function of something else: religion as a political motivator, religion as a source of morality, religion as a cultural identifier and so on. It is rare to find somebody who realizes that religion is first of all about what it means to be human, so that it is just impossible to be human and not to be religious. Except that our culture seems completely unequipped to deal with the religious questions and tends to emarginate the more existentially serious voices. In a sense, an important question we would like to ask Antonio Monda is: how is it possible to live in the midst of contemporary culture, as he does, without having to bury away or forget our deeper human questions? If so, what is his experience of these questions? And what role do they play in his work?
Reopening these questions seems to us the most important contribution that a Christian can make to today's culture.
About this EventDate: Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Location: Italian Academy at Columbia University
1161 Amsterdam Ave. (bet. 116th &118th Street)
About the Speakers
Famously described by the New York Times as "the most well-connected cultural figure you've never heard of" Antonio Monda teaches at NYU.