The purpose of the PhD and MTS programs in Process Studies (subtitled “Eco-Process Studies in Culture and Religion”) is to train future leaders in process-relational approaches to the study of ecology, culture, and religion today. Process Studies combines a variety of newly emergent fields and integrative methods in order to address key areas of debate that arise at the intersection of religion, culture, and nature.
The program aims to provide academic leaders, religious leaders, and leaders in society with the tools necessary for understanding the interconnections between ecology, culture, and religion in this postmodern and pluralistic world.
They will be trained in emerging theoretical perspectives that help to re-conceive and overcome fundamental dichotomies and binaries in contemporary culture. Using the techniques of postmodern/poststructuralist scholarship, in particular, students will learn to formulate a truly pluralistic and differentiated worldview, one that is appropriate to our contemporary society and able to contribute to transformational change.
Goals of the Degree
The Process Studies concentration draws on and seeks to integrate the whole range of contemporary studies in culture and religion, including their theological, philosophical, cultural, environmental, and interreligious dimensions. It aims to train students in the integrative shift that has been initiated by process theology, so as to enable them to work for a creative transformation of our world in the context of the most pressing concerns of our day.
The diverse fields of interaction will include philosophies in Western and non-Western traditions, theologies and philosophies of religion in diverse traditions, comparative religious studies, process studies and process theology, gender studies, feminist theory and feminist theologies, cultural studies (critical theories and liberation theologies), ecological studies (philosophies, theologies, and spiritualities), and the various fields of religion and science.
At the center of the Process Studies program is a commitment to breadth. We seek to educate students not with a narrow specialization, but with the ability to understand the inherent connectivity of process thought and to apply process insights with broad regions of human experience and scholarship. But it is possible to obtain such interrelations and applications only when students develop an equally broad range of competencies.
In particular, we expect some knowledge of methods and theories in the following five areas: Process Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion / Philosophy of Science, Constructive Theology, Postmodern / Poststructuralist Studies, and Comparative Religious Studies. Students will deepen their knowledge in these five areas through course work, outside studies (e.g., reading, papers, classes, or book reviews), their internship program, the interreligious requirement, and preparation for their qualifying examinations.
- Students successfully completing the Ph.D. in Religion with a concentration in Process Studies are expected to:
Demonstrate thematic and conceptual knowledge of Whiteheadian process thought, postmodern/ poststructuralist studies, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, Western Christian theology, and religious pluralism.
- Identify cognate ideas, connections, and tensions in historical and contemporary theologies, philosophies, cultures and ecologies.
- Utilize the elements of process studies in conducting new research on culture, ecology and/or religion.
- Show a clear understanding of the influence of cultural diversity – historical, religious, and/or contemporary cultures – on the chosen field of study.
- Communicate the ways in which research in process studies responsibly engages matters of pressing social concern.
Claremont School of Theology (CST) is a private graduate school focused on religion and theology and located in Claremont, California. It is an official theological school of the United Methodist Church.
A Transformative and Holistic Educational Experience to Cultivate a More Just, Sustainable, and Fulfilling World
The certificate program is an occasion to learn of the great diversity of process philosophies and the wide variety of ways in which those ideas can be expressed in everyday life. It will begin with a general introduction to process thought and end with an opportunity to creatively and concretely express what participants have learned. In between students will have the opportunity to select from courses that introduce the philosophical foundations of process thought, Christian process theology, understanding religious traditions through the lens of process thought, and applying a process perspective to economics. We hope that this will be the first of many such offerings in the future, and look forward to having you join us for this experiment in a creative adventure of ideas.
The Cobb Institute promotes a process-relational worldview to advance wisdom, harmony, and the common good, and cultivates local initiatives to bring about an ecological civilization. These aims will be accomplished by fostering creative transformation through educational development, community collaboration, sustainable practices, and spiritual integration.