Dr. Francesca Ciancimino Howell
Greetings and welcome! Thank you for visiting my site.
I am privileged to work in a variety of fields currently: I'm an interfaith spiritual care counselor or "spiritual companion" -- sometimes known as a chaplain. I'm also a writer, actor and university lecturer/teacher.
If you are interested in finding a Spiritual Companion who can listen deeply, and help to navigate the waves that sometimes can arise in life, please visit the following page here. It can give you an idea of some of the "toolkit" of modalities which I can offer as a Spiritual Companion and guide on life's journeys.
If you are interested in my academic work, my writings or my life history, then read on here below. And thank you for your interest.
SOME PUBLIC & ACADEMIC EVENTS:
Niwot, Colorado --
Tues. May 24th, 2022, 7:00-8:30 pm
The Niwot Inn
This talk about my 2018/2020 Bloomsbury book Food, Festival & Religion is being put on by the "Women's International Niwot Club" (WINC). There is a small fee for joining in of $15.00. IF you would like to come along, but are not a "WINC" member, please contact me to work out your joining in.
It will touch again on the themes below.
Come along for a magical evening in enchanting Niwot!
Inkberry Books, Cottonwood Square
Feb. 25th, 2022
Food, Festival and Religion -- how do food, place, community and tradition interact?
The darling bookstore owners Gene and Keith so very kindly support local authors, and invited me to present my most recent book. I spoke about some of the ideas, theories and details of colorful, intriguing festivals I researched and was privileged to attend in Italy. Slow Food, which is present in Colorado, and even in Niwot, figures into the discussion!
The local paper very generously carried a feature article on my work and the talk:
(page 5, Feb. 16, 2022 edition)
The Parliament of World Religions, October 2021
I was honored to present two papers on different topics:
one addressed current issues challenging chaplaincy and spiritual care, such as the need to evolve language awareness, along with other critical sensitivities. The other presented themes of pilgrimage and ritual as modalities to support and offer resilience in turbulent times. (The second was co-presented with my longtime Naropa University colleague, Dr. Anne Z. Parker.)
I have had the pleasure of presenting different aspects of my work at the American Academy of Religion on various occasions. For example the national conference in Denver, Nov. 2018 was a high point, as it showcased my Bloomsbury Academic book and Italian research of over a decade. (Shown below)
At the AAR Regional meetings at
CU Boulder, 2017 I also presented a paper on my research on lived religion, community and place, which was very well received. It was a most inspiring conference with excellent disciplinary cross-fertilization.
The International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture, together with the India-China Institute
"Mountains and Sacred Landscapes" Conference - The New School, 2017
This was a fascinating conference in NYC where I was delighted to present a paper on my work; it looked at themes of sustainability and resilience, through bonds with place and community, including the "other-than-human". I continue to use Italy as one lens, drawing from my work in Lombardy and Piedmont.
The many panels were superb -- a brilliant conference.
Food, Festival and Religion: Materiality & Place in Italy
Food, Festival and Religion: Materiality and Place in Italy, Aug. 2018/Feb. 2020, published by Bloomsbury Academic. Bloomsbury describes the series my book is part of thus:
"Books in the series are at the cutting edge of debates as well as developments in fields including religious studies, anthropology, museum studies, art history, and material culture studies."
Reviews & endorsements, as well as orders, are available at: https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/food-festival-and-religion-9781350020870/
[Professional headshot at top of page courtesy Jennifer McDaniels of Savvy Click Photography, Denver, CO]
Foodways maintain gastronomic traditions that relay and honor history, performing culture, memory and place. Festivals and rituals, as well as other performative traditions, permeate foodways. Feasting with one's community and other such shared experiences can help humans to deepen and manifest their bonds with place, home, community and the ineffable "other-than-human". Land, Nature, all that makes up what we call "the environment" are the other-than-human. Dining together, eating local foods, sharing with others, all enhance our lives and our wellbeing. The Italians (as well as other Europeans) have maintained those traditions for millennia, and still have much to teach us all. Performative traditions, ceremonies and stylized, often costumed and masked, public or private practices demonstrate Italian artistry and creativity.