The purpose of the program 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.
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.