Cynthia Drake, PhD

Core Assistant Professor
BA Interdisciplinary Studies
(303) 245-4622
PhD, English Literature, University of Colorado at Boulder / MA, English Literature, Georgetown University / MA Teaching, Oregon Statue University / BA, Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley
BA Interdisciplinary Studies
Capstone Design / Capstone I / Capstone II / Contemplative Learning Seminar / Diversity Seminar / Alternative Break Seminar

Cynthia Drake has taught full time at Naropa since 2015, teaching courses such as the Contemplative Learning Seminar, the Diversity Seminar, and Capstone I and II. She has served as chair of Interdisciplinary Studies and Associate Dean of Naropa College. She loves helping new students find their way into Naropa’s unique approach to contemplative learning as well as helping capstone students deepen their research and writing skills. Her research passions include imagining what American Buddhism will evolve into (and how to avoid harm through cultural appropriation), contemplative online learning, and representations of Buddhism and witches in twentieth-century literature. She is a long-time meditator, an avid walker, a voracious reader, and a faithful student of ways to repair things that seem beyond repair.


Research interests and topics:

  • The twentieth-century migration of Asian spiritual traditions to Europe and the United States (including cross-colonial encounters and cultural appropriation).
  • Contemplative pedagogies. / Critical digital pedagogies. / The interface of queer theory and practices in non-duality.


  • “American Habits and Fresh Baked Bread. ” Teaching Dhamma in New Lands. ed. Khammai Dhammasami Bangkok: Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University Press, 2012. 234-46.
  • “Towards a Harmonious University Community: the P?ramit?s as Praxis.” Buddhist Virtues in Socio-Economic Development. ed. Khammai Dhammasami Bangkok: Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University Press, 2011. 228-34.

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.