<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-NP2ZK8" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"></iframe> Francesca Howell

Francesca Howell


Adjunct Associate
Adjunct Faculty


MA in Resilient Leadership - Adjunct Faculty
BA in Environmental Studies - Adjunct Faculty


PhD, Religious Studies, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
MPhil, Latin American Studies, Cambridge University, (Clare Hall), Cambridge, UK
BS, Languages and Linguistics, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

From the heart

Naropa to me is unique, not only in academia, but in the world. Here we can speak of and teach compassion, modeling contemplative practice from a truly interfaith perspective. It is a heart-filled place where we can model what an enlightened society might look like. I am grateful for students such as those I encounter at Naropa who understand inter-species communication, rights of nature and activism, taking into account all our planet's needs.


  • Georgetown University Bosco Award for outstanding scholarship over four years of undergraduate study, 1979

  • Graduated from Georgetown Magna cum Laude, 1979

  • Making Magic with Gaia: Practices to heal our planet. (Red Wheel/Weiser, 2002). The Italian edition of my US/UK book became an Italian bestseller on Italy's "mind-body-spirit" lists, 2008.

Recent publications

  • Food, Festival and Religion: Materiality and place in Italy, London and NY: Bloomsbury Publishing, forthcoming.
  • “Bellisama and Aradia: Paganism Re-emerges in Italy, in Modern Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Europe: Colonial and Nationalist Impulses. Rountree, K. ed. NY and Oxford: Berghahn Publishers, May 2015.
  • “With Rituals Large and Small, We Heal, We Re-member", in Ritual and Healing: Stories of Ordinary and Extraordinary Transformation. Eulert, D. and S. Krippner (eds). Carlsbad, CA, USA: Motivational Press, 2013.
  • “Heterotopia, Community and Sense of Place: Performing land and folding time in the Badalisc festival of Northern Italy”, Folklore, Vol. 124. Issue 1. April 2013.

Courses taught

  • COR 220 - Community-based Learning and Action

  • ENV 245 - Geography: Pilgrimage and Sacred Landscape

  • ENV 645 - The New Science & Its Cultural Implications

  • ENV 785 - Environmental Leadership Capstone Seminar

Describe a moment when you helped a student reach an “ah ha” or transformational moment.

Epiphanies? BA students often need help "connecting the dots" — i.e. what is known formally as "integrative learning". In the Geography class students are suprised by the origins of the "religions of the book" and how they intersect in different parts of the world. Many students are unaware of the on-going presence of Europe's pre-Christian origins. I also help to connect the dots in our Colorado community involvements, in both BA and MA.

What does it mean to you when somebody says, “That’s so Naropa?”

Naropa asks the hard questions. Our contemplative practice leads us to speak about areas that "conventional" universities and circles eschew... for example, grief, social justice, environmental justice. Also for me, as an environmental campaigner and activist, speaking of our oneness with all life is "so Naropa". All of these factors make Naropa very special and needed. These factors that are "so Naropa" are part of our particular, peculiar pursuit of peaceful, enlightened society and warriorship.