The Process Diaspora, or why is Process Century Press located in Anoka, Minnesota?

The Process Diaspora, or why is Process Century Press located in Anoka, Minnesota?

Anoka (ah-NOH-kah) is a town at the northern edge of the Twin Cities metro area, of which Minneapolis and St. Paul are the heart. The name is derived from two native languages: the Dakota A-NO-KA-TAN-HAN, meaning “from both sides,” referring to its location on the banks of the Rum River, and the Ojibwa ON-O-KAY, meaning “working waters.”

It’s not a university town or a publishing mecca (although it is the hometown of Garrison Keillor). So how did the press land here?

The answer comes from the same place that so many things in the world of process thought come from: The Center for Process Studies in Claremont, California.

The Center for Process Studies is considered by many to be the headwaters of process philosophy and theology. Co-founded by John B. Cobb, Jr. and David Ray Griffin, the Center has for forty-plus years built a library, held conferences that engaged scholars from multiple fields all around the world, nurtured students, and launched a number of programs and organizations, including:

Some of these organizations are still in the main stream of the Center, others have split off somewhere downstream, forming a rich delta of rivers and waterways. Each of these is important in its own right, but all maintain some kind of link with the mother of us all, which only makes sense. We are, after all, a relational philosophy, and like any watershed, we are all connected.

People come to Claremont for study, and ideas blossom into full-scale programs. Some stay, but eventually most disperse to other parts of the country or the globe. They become part of the process diaspora—an open community of academics, clergy, activists, farmers (yes), and agents of cultural transformation.

This press, too, is part of that diaspora. Process Century Press began with a request from John Cobb, along with an initial investment from him. I started it in California as a program of the Center, because I was living there at the time. When I returned to my home state of Minnesota, after 14 years in California, the press came with me.

The press is now located on the banks of the Mississippi River, just south of where the Rum River flows into it. It is good to be on the river. We’re downstream from the headwaters of the Mississippi, just as we’re downstream, so to speak, from the headwaters of the Center. Being on the river resonates with the dynamism of process thought. It echoes Heraclitus: one can’t step into the same river twice.

So the press has now settled in Anoka, and it works: process is a philosophy that looks “from both sides”—it is a both/and river of thought. And although Process Century Press is now downstream, it still flows in the “working waters” of the Center for Process Studies and the broader flux of transdisciplinary ideas so necessary for the well-being of the world.

Beginnings

A couple of years ago John Cobb asked me if I would start an academic press for him. Sure, I said, because everyone always says yes to John Cobb. Never mind that academic presses all over the country were in financial trouble. And never mind that (at the time, at least) printed books were supposed… Continue Reading