The 50th Anniversary Conference of the Center for Process Studies | Conference Retrospect
Andrew M. Davis
Founded in 1973 by John B. Cobb Jr. and David Ray Griffin, the Center for Process Studies (CPS) recently concluded its “50th Anniversary Conference” at the Claremont United Church of Christ (UCC) in Claremont, California (Feb. 15-17). Featuring 36 presentations and 12 moderated panel discussions, the event aimed to not only celebrate the past, but also look to the future in the context of a new generation of process thinkers, those whose work and influence are forging the next 50 years.
The conference gathered a truly eclectic group of young scholars and seasoned moderators from multiple continents and with distinctive expertise and research trajectories. It was deliberately structured in order to capture the profound interdisciplinary nature of process thought and its relevance to multiple domains of thought and practice.
The first day began with opening reminiscences by John B. Cobb Jr. and Marjorie Suchocki. With the theme of “Reenchanting Religion: Process Theologies in the 21st Century,” presentations explored a variety of topics including reimagined process conceptualities of God, religious experience and belonging, panpsychism and religious naturalism, and religious pluralism.
The second day targeted “Science and Philosophy: Nature and the Nature of Reality.” Presentations engaged diverse scientific and metaphysical issues ranging from facts, values, and possibilities to new materialism and poststructuralism, and from brains, souls and the self, to art, beauty and creativity.
The third day focused on “Process in Practice: Society, Sustainability and Ecological Civilization.” Presentations covered a spectrum of pressing topics including economies and communities for the common good, politics, power and peace, process philosophies of education, environmental ethics and ecological civilization.
The conference concluded with a standing ovation to John B. Cobb Jr. who recently turned 98 years old, and a reverential moment of silence for the life and legacy of David Ray Griffin who passed away on November 26, 2022. To both men, thanks and gratitude are due to their profound and prophetic impact throughout the years.
The conference was recorded and live streamed through the Claremont UCC, and all recordings will soon be made available through the Center for Process Studies YouTube channel. All conference papers will also be published in the Cascade Perspectives in Process Studies Series, recently launched by CPS leadership.
One thing remained unanimously clear in the aftermath of our 50th
Anniversary celebration: the next fifty years is exceedingly bright. The process movement is strong, and its communal interrelations are deep and abiding. The Center for Process Studies would like to thank The Cobb Institute, The Institute for Ecological Civilization, the Institute for the Postmodern Development of China, and the Claremont UCC for their co-sponsorship of the conference and continued partnership in efforts both theoretical and practical.
To all participants, moderators, and attendees: Thank You. Here’s to the next 50 years of the Center for Process Studies!
Dr. Andrew M. Davis is Program Director for the Center for Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology, where he earned his Ph.D. in Religion and Process Philosophy. As Program Director, Davis researches, writes, teaches and organizes conferences across process-relational thought. He is the author and editor of several books including Mind, Value, and Cosmos: On the Relational Nature of Ultimacy (2020), Nature In Process: Organic Proposals in Philosophy, Society and Religion (2022); Process Cosmology: New Integrations in Science and Philosophy (2022), and Whitehead’s Universe: Philosophical Foundations of Process Theology (forthcoming, 2023). Follow his work at andrewmdavis.info.