The Cabrini community mourns the loss of Religious Studies Professor Emeritus Leonard Norman Primiano, PhD, who died Sunday, July 25, 2021.
Well-known and much respected among the Cabrini community and beyond, Primiano’s legacy lives on in the many lives he impacted. Friends, colleagues, and former students will remember him for his passion for teaching and scholarship; his affinity for religion and collection and study of religious artifacts; his appreciation of the arts; and his impeccable fashion sense and style.
Leonard Norman Primiano, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Religious Studies
Recipient, Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching Recipient
The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award (2014)
Leonard Norman Primiano, PhD, past Professor in the Department of Religious Studies. A renowned folklorist and religious studies scholar, he taught courses in the history of Christianity, vernacular religion, religious folklife, sectarian religion and contemporary American religion.
Primiano’s research areas included American religion; vernacular, folk, and popular religion; American folklore and folklife studies; religious material culture (including Roman Catholic “holy cards”); and religion and the media, including Catholicism and television.
A recipient of the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award and The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award in 2014, Primiano also was elected a Fellow of the American Folklore Society and served a three-year term on the Society’s Executive Board. He also served as co-chair of the Folk Belief and Religious Folklife chapter of the society and as the co-chair of the Folklore and Religion Seminar of the American Academy of Religion.
Primiano served as the developer and curator of Cabrini’s Religious Folk, Popular, Liturgical Arts Collection. His curated exhibitions include his personal collection of Italian ex-voto paintings, “Graces Received: Painted and Metal Ex-Votos from Italy” and “The Religious Mind: The Art of Science, Religion, and Healing” with Ben Danner ’13. In 2006, he coordinated the acquisition of The Don Yoder Collection of Religious Folk Art.
Primiano earned a dual doctorate in religious studies and folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a master of theological studies from Harvard University and received a master of arts in folklore and folklife and a bachelor of arts in religious studies from the University of Pennsylvania.