Spanish

Introduction

International studies is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary program that encourages students to examine cross-cultural, cross-national or transnational phenomena. It seeks therefore both a depth and breadth of knowledge about the human experience. Its primary justification arises from the belief that the world is increasingly interdependent and that many of the challenges to humanity are global in scope and cannot be usefully studied within the confines of a single discipline.

Students completing the international studies major at Albion College will have acquired a solid grasp of social, political, economic and historical forces at work in the world; competence in a second language equivalent to four semesters of college-level work; a familiarity with methodologies appropriate to the study of international phenomena; and a globally relevant experience through an appropriate off-campus program. For further information, contact Midori Yoshii, adviser.

International Studies Website

Majors and Minors

Requirements for Major

A minimum of eight units as follows:

1. Three international studies core courses consisting of International Studies 130 and two additional courses, one of which must be at the 200-level or higher. The two additional international studies core courses must be taken in two different departments. A current list of pre-approved IS core courses is available on the International Studies Program Web site or from the International Studies Program Committee chair.

2. Elective courses constituting a curricular focus. Electives must be taken in at least two different departments. A list of sample elective courses is available on the International Studies Program Web site or from the International Studies Program Committee chair. The number of courses that a student takes depends on the track chosen and the number of units elected for the capstone project. Students may choose from the following options:

Area Studies--At least three units of course work in one of the following areas: Europe, Africa, Asia or Latin America. Depending on course availability, students may pursue other area studies tracks with the prior approval of the International Studies Program Committee. Modern language competence must be in a language related to the area studies focus. The semester abroad must be in a location related to the area studies focus.

Transnational Studies--At least four units of course work on a specific transnational topic. Pre-approved tracks include international environmental studies and international gender studies. Depending on course availability, students may pursue other transnational studies tracks with the prior approval of the International Studies Program Committee.

3. International Studies 370: Building on International and Intercultural Experiences.

Additional Major Requirements

  • Course work must include at least two courses taken at the 300-level or higher. No more than three units of 100-level work may be counted toward the major.
  • Up to three units of course work may be taken abroad.
  • Proof of modern language competence equivalent to two years of college-level language study is required.
  • At least one semester abroad must be completed in an off-campus study program approved for Albion College credit. In special circumstances, students may petition the International Studies Program Committee to fulfill this requirement through U.S.-based off-campus study programs with significant international content.

Requirements for Minor in Area Studies

  • Five units as follows: International Studies 130, plus four courses on a specified geographical region (Europe, Africa, Asia or Latin America). Depending on course availability, students may pursue other area studies tracks with the prior approval of the International Studies Program Committee. Area studies courses shall be distributed across at least two departments, with at least three courses at the 200-level or higher.
  • All courses must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis.
  • No more than two transfer credits will be accepted.
  • Cognate requirements: Knowledge of a second language, equivalent to at least two years of college-level study (students may fulfill through course work or placement test). The language must be a language of the region under study.

Requirements for Minor in Transnational Studies

  • Five units as follows: International Studies 130, plus four international studies core courses, of which three must be at the 200-level or above. These must also be distributed across at least two departments.
  • All courses must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis.
  • No more than two transfer credits will be accepted.
  • Cognate requirements: Knowledge of a second language, equivalent to at least two years of college-level study (students may fulfill through course work or placement test).

International Studies Courses

130 Introduction to International Studies (1)
Introduces concepts of international studies with historical examples. Students are required to observe and analyze developments within a certain region, area, country or organization throughout the semester. Yoshii.

260 An International History of the Cold War (1)
Interprets the Cold War from international perspectives through analyzing the roles of proxy wars in Asia and the anti-colonial movement of the Third World, which defies the conventional analytical framework of the U.S.-Soviet conflicts. Includes study of the official documents of various governments (in English translation) and analyses of the contemporary media coverage and film analysis. Same as History 260. Yoshii.

264 An International History of Modern Japan (1)
Surveys the history of Japan from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century, with special emphasis on how cultural, military, political, and economic interactions with other countries have influenced Japan’s national policies and cultural identity over time. Topics range from historical relations with China and Korea, the influence of seventeenth century “Dutch learning,” U.S., European, and Russian imperialism in the nineteenth century, Japanese expansion into Asia during the early twentieth century, U.S.-Japan relations during and after World War II, and immigration and population in the twenty-first century. Same as History 264. Yoshii.

300 Power and Culture in the Asia-Pacific Region (1)
Introduces the diversity and development of the Asia-Pacific region that includes countries with traditions of Confucianism, Marxist-Leninist ideology, Western liberalism and Islam. Begins with a historical survey of the political, economic and social development of the region, followed by students' discussions of the prospect of the Asia-Pacific region growing into something similar to the European Community. Special attention is paid to the role of the U.S., an Asia-Pacific country, in this region. Yoshii.

370 Building on International and Intercultural Experiences (1)
Designed for students (including international students at Albion College) who wish to integrate their experiences studying, working or living abroad with a deepened analytical understanding of international and intercultural issues. Students familiarize themselves with the most current scholarship on international studies. Through independent research, they advance their understanding of a particular international issue of their choice and hone their abilities to articulate this issue to an audience. Yoshii.

Special Studies

187, 188, 189 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other studies. Staff.

287, 288, 289 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. May be taken more than once for credit. Staff.

387, 388, 389 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
Staff.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)
Staff.

Faculty

Ruth E. Schmitter, professor of biology.
B.S., 1964, Michigan State University; M.Sc., 1966, University of Edinburgh; Ph.D., 1973, Harvard University. Appointed 1982.

Trisha Franzen, professor of women's and gender studies.
B.A., 1978, State University of New York, Buffalo; M.A., 1984, Ph.D., 1990, University of New Mexico. Appointed 2003.

Introduction

Women's and gender studies is an interdisciplinary program that examines the role of gender in the construction of lives, cultures, community norms, meaning systems, and systems of representation. All of the areas of study within the program use cross-cultural or multicultural investigations to understand the dynamics and differences in the operation of gender. Within specific contexts but also across differences, the program also focuses on the lives of women--on women's past and present active involvement in the making of the world. Each of the areas of study emphasizes the ongoing interplay of theory and practice.

The program also includes minors in both gender studies and women's studies (see below).

Majors and Minors

Requirements for Major

  • Eight units as well as a senior capstone experience (one-half or one unit). The requirements for each track are described below.

Women’s Studies Emphasis

Gender Studies Emphasis

Required Courses

Required Courses

WGS 106: Introduction to Women’s
Studies
WGS 360: Feminist Theory
Capstone Experience: directed study,
Honors thesis, practicum, or
internship

WGS 116: Introduction to Gender
Studies
WGS 360 or A&S 333
Capstone Experience: directed study,
Honors thesis, practicum, or
internship

A senior exit interview will be used for assessment purposes.

Six different courses, at least one from each of the following lists. The six courses must be selected in consultation with the program director or the faculty member in the program.

Institutions or Knowledge Systems

This requirement emphasizes the study of the systemic nature of gender or of the critical perspectives brought to a discipline by feminist theory or gender theory.

Anthropology and Sociology 333: The Sociology of Sex and Gender, Melzer (if not taken as the theory requirement)
Anthropology and Sociology 360: Intimate Violence, Melzer
Biology 368, 368L: Behavioral Ecology, Staff
Communication Studies 207: Communicating Gender, Erlandson
English 363: Literary Theory, Collar
Religious Studies 320: Gender and Biblical Interpretation, McWhirter
Science 205: Women and Ethnic Minorities in Science, Schmitter

Representations

This requirement emphasizes feminist approaches or gender study approaches to the examination of gender in representations; this requirement also can involve the recovery and examination of representations that previously had been invisible due to gender bias.

Art History 310: Women and Art, Wickre
English 330: The Novel and the New: British Fiction, Behn to Bronte, Miller
English 340: The Twentieth Century in “English” Literature, Collar
English 341: Contemporary Literature, Collar
English 345: Renaissance Women's Writing, MacInnes
English 347: The Age of Satire, Staff

Global Perspectives

This requirement emphasizes the importance of gaining knowledge far from one’s own subject position. For this unit, students must choose a course outside their own cultural and geographical experience.

For U.S. students, some options:
History 301: Gender and Sexuality in the Hispanic World, Kanter
History 365: Women, Society and Gender in East Asia, Staff
Political Science 372: Gender, Sex and International Politics, Walling

For international students, some options:
Anthropology and Sociology 333: The Sociology of Sex and Gender, Melzer (if not taken as the theory requirement)
History 340: History of Women in the U.S., 1877 to Present, Franzen

Historical Contexts

This requirement emphasizes the study of women or gender in specific and detailed historical context(s) or the study of the methodology of women’s or gender history.

Economics and Management 305: Women in Business and Leadership, Baker
English 220: The Making of Modern Masculinities: British Literature and Manliness,
1660-1914 , Staff
English 243: Women and Literature, Lockyer
English 285: Gay and Lesbian Literature, Staff
English 338: Eighteenth-Century Culture Shocks: Race, Class, and Gender in Eighteenth-
Century Britain, Staff
English 344: The Age of Elizabeth, MacInnes
English 345: Renaissance Women's Writing, MacInnes
English 347: The Age of Satire, Staff
French 320: French Women Writers and Feminist Criticism, Guenin-Lelle
History 301: Gender and Sexuality in the Hispanic World, Kanter
History 340: History of Women in the U.S., 1877 to Present, Franzen
History 365: Women, Society and Gender in East Asia, Staff
History 390: Modern Germany, Cocks
History 395: The Irrational in History, Cocks

Self Making

This requirement emphasizes the feminist and gender studies examinations of processes and narratives that transform beings into gendered humans.

Anthropology and Sociology 230: Men and Masculinities, Melzer
English 220: The Making of Modern Masculinities: British Literature and Manliness,
1660-1914, Staff
English 246: Immigration and Literature, Collar
Psychology 251: Child and Adolescent Psychology, Elischberger
Women's and Gender Studies 240: Sexualities, Histories and Culture, Franzen

Requirements for Minor in Gender Studies

  • Five units, including: WGS 116, Introduction to Gender Studies; one from Anthropology and Sociology 332, 333 and WGS 360, Feminist Theory; three additional courses from the electives listed below, at least two of which must be at the 300 level or higher: Anthropology and Sociology 230, 332, 333, 360, Biology 368, English 211, 220, 285, 337, 341, 344, 347, 351, 363, 370, History 308, 377, Religious Studies 320.
  • Elective courses should be selected in consultation with a women's and gender studies faculty member and reported to the Women's and Gender Studies Program chair.

Requirements for Minor in Women's Studies

  • Five units, including WGS 106, Introduction to Women's Studies, and WGS 360, Feminist Theory; one historical overview course; and two others from the electives listed below, at least one of which must be at the 300 level or higher: Art History 219, 310, English 243, 338, 345, French 320, History 340, 370, SCI 205, Theatre 210.
  • Elective courses should be selected in consultation with a women's and gender studies faculty member and reported to the Women's and Gender Studies Program chair.

Women's Studies Courses

106 Introduction to Women's Studies (1)
Introduces some of the basic issues, debates and language surrounding the feminist "revisioning" of the traditional academic curriculum. Issues—education, images of women in various media, work, sexuality, male violence and race—approached from various disciplines, with emphasis on literature, the social sciences, and transnational issues. Franzen.

116 Introduction to Gender Studies (1)
An introduction to gender studies including works that place gender at the center of scholarly inquiry as well as related material drawn from women's studies, men's studies and lgbt/queer studies. Focuses on gender and difference, considering how issues of race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, age and abilities interact with gender. Though most of the studies are based in the United States, global issues are introduced. Franzen, Staff.

187, 188, 189 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

240 Sexualities, Histories and Culture (1)
Examines how sexuality has emerged as the basis for academic inquiry and numerous identities in the late twentieth century. Part I examines the historical research on sexuality across various cultures, considering what changes, from economic through technological, have fostered the development of sexuality-related laws, restrictions, identities and opportunities. Part II traces the theories about contemporary identities that emerged from women's and gender studies research, assessing medical, academic, religious and legal institutions as well as the grassroots resistance and alternative naming presented by individuals and communities. In Part III, students in each class have the opportunity to determine some of the topics covered. Franzen.

287, 288, 289 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

360 Feminist Theory (1)
Prerequisite: WGS 106 or WGS 116 or permission of instructor.
Explores twentieth-century feminist thought from the United States and Great Britain with some attention to other influences. Grounds feminist theory within the grassroots women's movement, a social, cultural and political movement for change. Tracing the influence of feminism in the academy, the course surveys not only the critical and analytical foundations of the field of women's studies but also the impact of women and gender-centered scholarship on the traditional disciplines. The challenges to feminist theory raised by U.S. women of color, working-class women, lesbians and other women who have experienced multiple oppressions are explored along with the women's examinations of the intersections of sexism and racism, classism, homophobia and other systems of power. Franzen, Collar.

387, 388, 389 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

398 Practicum (1/2)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)
Staff.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)
Directed studies generally are reserved for those students who have schedule conflicts between two majors. They are also available for students pursuing honors theses. In specific cases, students may request directed studies that cover topics beyond the scope of the current curriculum. These students are expected to present their proposed plan of study to the instructor for approval well in advance of registration. Staff.

Faculty

Robert J. Starko, chair and assistant professor.
B.A., 1974, State University of New York at Oneonta; M.F.A., 1991, Illinois State University. Appointed 1999.

Mark E. Hoffland, staff lecturer.
B.A., 1983, Augsburg College; M.F.A., 1990, Michigan State University. Appointed 2007.

Introduction

The goal of Albion College's Department of Theatre is to provide the College community with examples of the best theatre and dance from our cultural heritage and from contemporary life. We value the effectiveness of theatre and dance to explore issues of human consequence and to offer to the student, as performer, designer, technician and audience, the opportunity for self-affirmation and self-actualization. The curriculum, therefore, balances a sequence of literature and history courses with the traditional theatre process courses in performance and production as well as dance technique and choreography. Students develop simultaneously their analytical and research skills with their imaginative and creative skills. In the classroom, in the laboratory and in performance, students acquire the knowledge and experiences essential to becoming a gifted theatre artist and an informed audience member.

Participation in theatre and dance productions is open to all students enrolled at the College. Our productions have, on-stage and back-stage, a diverse mix of collaborators from all disciplines. Theatre majors are expected to complement their course work with active participation in the department's programs. Four major theatre productions, two student productions and one dance performance yearly provide the opportunity to gain a thorough knowledge of all facets of theatre production. Majors are expected to participate in all assessment objectives as outlined by the department.

Theatre Department Website

Career Opportunities

Professions open to graduates of the department include theatre and dance performance, production design, arts management, teaching at all levels, arts criticism and arts advocacy. Many of our majors pursue graduate study in the specialized fields of performance, directing, design, theatre history and literature and criticism.

Special Features

Juniors and seniors have the opportunity to participate in semester apprenticeships and internships in theatre through the GLCA New York Arts Program and in international opportunities which focus on literary, cultural and artistic experiences. Dance frequently brings in guest artists of regional and national reputation in order to broaden the exposure of the students to different styles. The theatre program at Albion has close ties with the regionally-based Purple Rose Theatre Company and Performance Network. It also sponsors the Kurtz Theatre Enrichment Series which brings outstanding theatre scholars and practitioners to the campus. The department is very active in the American College Theatre Festival, sending a number of students to the annual conference each year.

Majors and Minors

Requirements for Major in Theatre

  • A minimum of 10 units in theatre, including: 209, 211, 251, 280, 281, and either 225, 315 or 350 and four units of electives chosen from 210, 220, 225, 285, or any 300-level or higher course.
  • A total of two cognate courses must be completed for a major in theatre: one course in English (English 261, 344, 349, 374, 375, 376) and one course in music or art (Art History 115 or 116  or Music 111).
  • All courses for the major must be taken for a numerical grade.
  • Theatre majors are required to participate in at least one of the major productions each semester. The nature of the participation will be agreed upon by the student and theatre faculty.
  • Theatre majors must attend at least 75 percent of the departmental American College Theatre Festival responses and the departmental post-production meetings each year. Additionally, majors are required to participate in the departmental comprehensive examination.
  • Theatre majors are expected to serve as an assistant stage manager for a production and to have a major creative role in a production such as directing, designing, acting in a major role, stage managing, or serving as technical director for a major production.

Requirements for Minor in Theatre

  • Six units in theatre, including: 111 or 209; 211, 251, 280, 281 and one elective chosen from 210, 225, 285, or any 300-level or higher course, or four 1/4-unit practica (175, 176).
  • All courses for the minor must be taken for a numerical grade.
  • Theatre minors are expected to participate in at least one of the productions each semester.

Theatre Courses

111 Theatre Arts (1)
A study of the nature and foundation of theatre as a unique art form. The course explores the elements which make up dramatic production, the theatre's historical development and how the theatre relates to contemporary life Not recommended for theatre majors and minors. Staff.

136 Dance Technique I (1/2)
A study of basic to intermediate dance technique and concepts relevant to ballet, jazz and modern dance forms. Staff.

187, 188, 189 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

209 Dramatic Analysis (1)
An introduction to dramatic and theatrical analysis, focusing on how a theatre text works both on the page and on the stage. Students discover "how a play means" by exploring different theoretical approaches and dramatic traditions and performing both dramatic and theatrical analyses. Staff.

210 Women in the American Theatre (1)
An examination of the contributions of women in all aspects of the American Theatre; a study of the images of women as portrayed in American drama; an introduction to feminist theory and criticism as it relates to theatre and drama. Staff.

211 Introduction to Theatrical Technology and Design (1)
Prerequisites: Theatre 111, 209 or permission of instructor.
An introduction to the technical skills used in theatre (scenic construction and painting, costume construction, lighting and sound technology), and the basic principles of scenic, costume, lighting and sound design. Staff.

220 Costume Design and Prop Craft (1)
An introduction to aspects of costume and theatrical property design and artisanship including professional presentation skills, basic sewing, millinery (hat making), apparel and textiles terminology, painting and dying science, leatherwork, wig styling, and armor work. Includes costume lab work and hands-on design and construction projects. Staff.

236 Dance Technique II (1/2)
Prerequisites: Audition and permission of instructor.
A study of intermediate to advanced dance technique and concepts relevant to ballet, jazz and modern dance forms. Staff.

251 Acting I (1)
Prerequisites: Theatre 111, 209 or permission of instructor.
For the student with previous acting experience. Explores exercises, games and pantomimes to expand the physical, mental and emotional awareness used in acting. Includes script analysis and scene work. Starko.

260 Art of Dance (1)
A survey dance history course exploring the evolution of ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance forms through lecture, readings, video viewings, research and beginning-level dance technique. Major themes include the analysis of historical, choreographic and technical examples within four dance disciplines and a range in styles of dance presentation. Staff.

280 Historical Perspectives on Theatre: Ancient Greece to 1850 (1)
An examination of the major periods of theatre history, theatre architecture and conventions, and dramatic literature from fifth century B.C. Greece to mid-nineteenth-century Europe. Offered periodically. Staff.

281 Historical Perspectives on Theatre: 1850 to Present (1)
The second of two classes in the theatre history sequence. An examination of dramatic styles, literature, theory and criticism, and movements primarily of the twentieth century. Offered periodically. Staff.

285 Ethnicity in Musical Theatre (1)
Examines the growth and development of the musical, starting with the nineteenth-century influences: minstrel shows, the black crook and subsequent evolutions. Examines the structure of the musical from its earliest iterations, the influence of operetta, ethnic comedians, Tin Pan Alley composers and the Golden Age, to the concept musical model prevalent today. Looks at racial minorities as subjects, contributors and sources for musicals. Relates the development of the musical to changes in popular music, as indicative of changes in society, and considers the musical as an agent of social change. Starko.

287, 288, 289 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

314 Stage Management (1/2)
Covers the mechanics and methods of theatrical stage management/production management, including running rehearsals and performances, and the rules of the Actors’ Equity Association. Presents the basics of production stage management such as scheduling and budgeting. Offered periodically. Staff.

315 Scenic, Lighting, and Sound Design for the Theatre (1)
A theoretical and practical course in designing scenery, lighting, and sound for the theatre.  Students design projects in realistic and non-realistic production styles and in various media. Staff.

332 Albion Repertory Dance Company (1/2)
A touring dance ensemble that explores dance management, dance production, and dance performance and choreographic analysis. Requires audition and participation in fall and spring semester of one academic year. Staff.

350 Play Direction (1)
Prerequisites: Theatre 209, 211, and 251, or permission of instructor.
An examination of the role of the director in the theatre, with emphasis on the relationship between the director and the actor and the technical problems which arise in rehearsal and performance. Starko.

361 Vocal Technique and Movement (1)
Prerequisite: Theatre 251 or permission of instructor.
An advanced acting course designed to give students greater control over their vocal and physical expression. The course includes individual assessment of strengths and weaknesses coupled with exercises to broaden individual students' abilities. In addition, students will prepare monologues for future auditions. Starko.

365 Interpreting Shakespeare for the Actor (1/2)
Prerequisite: Theatre 251 or permission of instructor.
An advanced acting course that examines the textual clues inherent in the Folio versions of Shakespeare's texts, discovering how they help to illuminate the actor's role. It will also focus on the vocal and physical aspects of performing Shakespeare, while placing the shows in proper historical and critical perspective. Starko.

366 Acting Styles (1/2)
Prerequisite: Theatre 251 or permission of instructor.
The study of a particular style of acting associated with a specific period or playwright. Involves textual analysis of the playwright or plays of the period as well as specific vocal and physical techniques associated with those works. Topics may include but are not limited to: The Restoration, Brecht, Ancient Greece and Shaw. The topics will vary based on departmental needs and student interest. Course may be repeated once for credit for a total of one full unit. Starko.

375 Shakespeare I (1)
Same as English 375. Staff.

376 Shakespeare II (1)
Same as English 376. Staff.

387, 388, 389 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

402 Seminar (1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.
Detailed study of significant and relevant problems in theatre. Specific topic for consideration each year will be determined before fall registration. Staff.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)
Staff.

Practicum

A practical experience in department-sponsored activities. Students may repeat the course up to four times in any combination for a total of one unit. Offered either semester on a credit/no credit basis.

175, 176 Theatre (1/4, 1/2)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
Acting, direction, assistant direction, production design. Staff.

Faculty

Jocelyn McWhirter, chair and Stanley S. Kresge Professor of Religious Studies.
B.A., 1982, Trinity College; M.A., 1991, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry; Ph.D., 2002, Princeton Theological Seminary. Appointed 2006.

Ronney B. Mourad, professor.
B.A., 1994, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; M.A., 1995, University of Chicago; Ph.D., 2002, University of Chicago. Appointed 2001.

Peter M. Valdina, assistant professor.
B.A., 1997, Hamilton College; M.A., 1999, Columbia University; M.S.Sc., 2000, The New School for Social Research; Ph.D., 2013, Emory University. Appointed 2012.

Introduction

The study of religion is at the heart of a liberal arts education. Together with the other humanities and the social sciences, the study of religion helps one understand spiritual dimensions of the world and our roles as human beings in it.

Our Departmental Mission—Religion has always been an important component in human history. In its many configurations religion has played a critical role in shaping diverse and distinctive forms of culture and has also been shaped by culture. We seek to stimulate in students an appreciation of the spiritual teachings, ethical principles, myths, symbols and rituals of a variety of societies, believing that in them we encounter legitimate human attempts to envision the sacred and to live in the world as a spiritual arena. Conscious of Albion's heritage as a college related to the United Methodist Church, we give special attention to the monotheistic traditions in the development of our Western culture and intellectual life.

Contemporary society sometimes represents religion only as a set of subjective beliefs. Because of this misrepresentation, people may view themselves or others as fundamentalists or atheists without understanding the variety of spiritual expressions and their roles in society over the course of history. While not required at Albion, we believe that the study of religion is central to the liberal arts experience as a means of gaining a broader understanding of the depth of one's own and others' religious beliefs and practices.

Since we are concerned with the academic study of religion, our department does not promote any particular, narrow "brand'' of theology or spirituality. We subscribe to the assertion made by Friedrich Max Muller who said, "Whoever knows only one religion, does not know religion.'' We encourage our students to explore religion using various modes of analysis, including historical-critical, philosophical and comparative approaches that keep the life of the mind and the life of the soul in creative tension.

The training and interests of our faculty include several areas: biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek); biblical and related ancient Near-Eastern literature; classic and contemporary Islamic history; Islamic ritual; Sufism; comparative religion; myth, symbol, and ritual; philosophy of religion; philosophical theology; ethics and society; and Asian religions. We work closely with interested students in planning and completing directed studies, pursuing internships, preparing individualized research projects resulting in a thesis, and in exploring career options.

Religious Studies Department Website

Career Opportunities

Whether a student chooses to major in religious studies or includes it as part of a double or individually-designed major, he or she will be introduced to those aspects of a liberal arts education that aid in the development of insight, flexibility and commitment within a changing world.

Many of our students pursue further studies after Albion, in professional schools, theological seminaries or graduate programs. The religious studies faculty works closely with students who plan to attend seminary in helping them develop an appropriate pre-seminary course of studies, as well as with students who are looking into a career in the human services.

Students entering professional schools after graduation benefit from training in religious studies, since religious beliefs, practices and values influence most major social institutions. Religious studies students pursuing career opportunities in law, medicine or business have the educational background to understand these influences and their implications for professional practice. Theological seminaries prepare persons for a variety of positions, including pastoral ministry, counseling, religious education, youth work, institutional chaplaincies, administration and mission work (home and overseas).

Graduate programs in religious studies lead to M.A., Ph.D., or Th.D. degrees, which are usually associated with teaching careers. There are also dual competency programs that link the study of religion to the study of law, social services, art and/or music, journalism, urban ministries and counseling.

Special Features

The John and Williemay Cheek Award is a cash award presented each year to the outstanding senior in the department. The Dr. Selva J. Raj Memorial Scholarship in Religious Studies is given to a rising junior or senior religious studies major who exemplifies academic excellence. Book awards are given to graduating majors. Note: Students who major in religious studies at Albion are not disqualified from receiving federal or state need-based financial aid.

Majors and Minors

Requirements for Major

  • A minimum of eight units in religious studies, including Religious Studies 101, 102, one course in each of the four areas in religious studies at Albion listed below, and at least two other courses in the department. No more than four 100-level courses can be counted for the major.
  • All courses for the major must be taken for a numerical grade. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the department faculty.

AREAS IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES AT ALBION

(1) Biblical and Jewish Studies
Current courses in this area include: 121, 122, 215, 220, 222, 320.

(2) Theology and Ethics
Current courses in this area include: 131, 232, 234, 242, 250, 270.

(3) Asian and Comparative Religions
Current courses in this area include: 211, 212, 251, 261.

(4) Islamic Religion
Current courses in this area include: 104, 204, 205, 206.

Requirements for Minor

  • Minimum of five units, including 101, 102 and three additional units, two of which must be above the 100-level.
  • All courses for the minor must be taken for a numerical grade. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the department faculty.

Religious Studies Courses

Note: Courses in religious studies carry no prerequisites unless specified under the course listing. The 101 and 102 courses do, however, provide useful background for other courses in the department and thus are recommended for students who may elect more than one course in the department.

101 Introduction to Western Religions (1)
An introduction to major Western religions as represented by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Topics include the nature of religion and religious experience in the West; origins and development of each major religion; sacred literature, formative myths, symbols and fundamental tenets; forms of religious expression, spirituality and worship; and the relationship to the world as seen in ethical orientations and institutions. McWhirter, Mourad.

102 Introduction to Eastern Religions (1)
An introduction to major Eastern religions as represented by Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Shinto. Topics include the nature of religion and religious experience in the East; origins and development of each major religion; sacred literature, formative myths, symbols and fundamental tenets; forms of religious expression, spirituality and worship; and the relationship to the world as seen in ethical orientations and institutions. Valdina.

104 Introduction to Islam (1)
An introduction to the beliefs and practices of Islam in its various manifestations, with additional emphasis on the history, politics and gender issues that have both influenced and been influenced by Islam. Analyzes the information, and misinformation, on Islam as presented in the news media and on the Internet. Valdina.

121 History, Literature and Religion of the Old Testament (1)
A developmental study of the major events, individuals and central religious and ethical ideas of ancient Israel, based on the literature of the Hebrew Bible and relevant data from the archaeology and history of the ancient Near East. McWhirter.

122 History, Literature and Religion of the New Testament (1)
The New Testament and other writings of the early Christian period studied as literary, historical and ethical-religious sources for an understanding of Jesus, Paul and the emerging Christian movement. McWhirter.

131 Introduction to Christian Thought (1)
Classical themes and modern variations: emotion and reason, world and God, death and self-transcendence, guilt and forgiveness, meaninglessness and the sense of the holy. Mourad.

187, 188, 189 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

204 Islam and the Modern World (1)
An examination of ideas and movements related to Islam's interaction with the West in the modern period, including Muslim intellectual responses to issues like colonialism, modernism, secularism, nationalism, democracy, science and women's rights. Also includes political developments in certain Islamic countries. Valdina.

205 Islamic Mysticism (1)
An introduction to Islamic mysticism. Looks at the historical development of Sufism, its contributions to Islamic civilization and to the spread of Islam, its literature, key themes such as love and drunkenness, distinctive practices including music and dance, and the ways it has adapted to the modern world, including in the West. Valdina.

206 Women, Gender, Islam (1)
Examines the role of gender, and the construction of gender, in the history of Islam. Begins with the historical roots of the topic and examines presentations of gender in the Qur'an and the early sources of Islam. Explores case studies in the contemporary world, including the contexts in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Valdina.

211 Hinduism (1)
Indian philosophical world views, ritual expressions and moral orientations: Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Vedanta. Offered occasionally. Valdina.

212 Buddhism (1) Spring
Indian, Chinese and Japanese philosophical world views, ritual expressions and moral orientations. Theravada, Mahayana, Ch'an, Zen. Offered occasionally. Valdina.

215 Jewish Life and Thought (1)
The world of Jewish life and thought as reflected in both ancient and modern Jewish writings. An analysis of selected biblical, rabbinic and medieval classics, as well as modern Jewish literature. McWhirter.

220 Legend, Wisdom, and Apocalypse (1)
Historical and literary analysis of Jewish literature in the Second Temple Period, including the legends of Esther and Judith, the wisdom of Ben Sirach, the apocalyptic visions of Daniel and Enoch, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Looks at how this body of work constitutes important background for Jewish and Christian origins. McWhirter.

222 Jesus and the Gospels (1)
An investigation of five Gospels: the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, along with the Gospel of Thomas. Historical and literary analysis, leading to an evaluation of their usefulness as sources for reconstructing the life and death of Jesus. McWhirter.

232 Faith and Reason (1)
Explores epistemology, or the theory of knowledge, as it applies to religious belief. Focuses on the nature of faith and asks whether faith is irrational according to thinkers such as Blaise Pascal, John Locke, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Mourad.

234 Philosophy of Religion (1)
Philosophical examination of several classic religious problems, including the nature of God, the proofs of God's existence, the justification for evil and suffering, the rationality of belief in miracles and the nature of the afterlife. Offered occasionally. Same as Philosophy 234. Mourad.

242 Christian Ethics (1)
An introduction to the foundations and applications of Christian theological ethics. Investigates Christian perspectives on moral issues such as sex and marriage, medical ethics and social justice. Mourad.

250 Mysticism and Ecstasy (1)
A study of mystical and ecstatic experiences focused primarily on the Christian tradition. Includes discussion of the limits and puzzles of mystical language and the value of religious experiences as evidence. Are mystics reasonable if they base their beliefs on religious experiences? Do their experiences provide any support for other people's religious beliefs? Offered occasionally. Mourad.

251 Yogis and Ascetics (1)
What does it mean to want to renounce the world? When do the conditions of society cause us to want to transcend everyday life in a radical way? Explores the historical development of concepts of yoga and renunciation in South Asia as they extend into Hindu, Jain and Buddhist practices. Themes include the relation between dissent and social responsibility, the difference between negation and affirmation, and the roles of wandering and control of the body in ascetic practices. Valdina.

261 Death and Dying (1)
Human longing for a meaningful explanation of the mystery of death and dying is deep and universal. This comparative course examines a wide array of beliefs and rituals related to death and dying in a select number of world religions. In addition to gaining intellectual familiarity with cross-cultural beliefs and practices, students will be encouraged to analyze familiar religious and cultural practices surrounding death and dying. Valdina.

270 Liberation Theology (1)
Examines Christian theological responses to poverty and social injustice emphasizing the theme of liberation. Includes analysis of liberation theology in 1960s Latin America and its influence on African American and feminist theologies in the U.S. Offered occasionally. Mourad.

287, 288, 289 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. May be taken more than once for credit. Staff.

320 Gender and Biblical Interpretation (1)
Methods of biblical interpretation and their relation to gender construct in society and biblical authority. Offered in alternate years. McWhirter.

387, 388, 389 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Offered on demand. Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)
Topics of special interest. Past seminars have included "C.G. Jung and Individuation," "Religion and Existentialism," "Theology of Sex and Marriage" and "Seminar on Ministry." Offered occasionally. Staff.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Upperclass standing.
Recent directed study topics have included "The Image of Mary Magdalene in Tradition"; "Yoga and Integration"; "Religious Perspectives on Marriage"; C.S. Lewis; Niebuhr's Social Ethic; Philosophical Theology of Hans Kung; and "The Theology of Paul Tillich." Hebrew and Greek are also taught regularly as directed studies. Staff.

Faculty

Holger B. Elischberger, chair and associate professor.
B.A., 1993, M.A., 1998, University of Würzburg; Ph.D., 2004, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Appointed 2005.

Andrew N. Christopher, professor.
B.B.A., 1992, Stetson University; M.B.A., 1994, Southern Methodist University; M.S., 1996, Ph.D., 1999, University of Florida. Appointed 2001.

Andrea P. Francis, visiting assistant professor.
B.S., 2001, Colorado State University; M.A., 2006, Ph.D., 2010, Michigan State University. Appointed 2010.

Eric D. Hill, assistant professor.
B.A., 2004, Oglethorpe University; M.A., 2007, Ph.D., 2010, Arizona State University. Appointed 2010.

Tammy J. Jechura, associate professor.
B.S., 1994, Bowling Green State University; M.A., 1999, Ph.D., 2002, University of Michigan. Appointed 2004.

Barbara J. Keyes, professor.
B.A., 1970, College of Wooster; M.A., 1973, Ph.D., 1976, Bowling Green State University. Appointed 1975.

Mareike B. Wieth, associate professor.
B.A., 1999, Kenyon College; M.A., 2001, Ph.D., 2005, Michigan State University. Appointed 2005.

W. Jeffrey Wilson, professor.
B.A., 1977, Haverford College; M.A., 1978, Ph.D., 1983, University of California, Los Angeles. Appointed 1999.

Introduction

Psychological science studies the behavior and mental processes of humans and other animals. As a discipline, psychology spans the natural and social sciences and is based on rigorous scientific analysis and methodologies. Specialty areas represented in the department include clinical, cognitive, developmental, industrial/organizational, physiological, health, and social psychology.

Students who major in psychology become involved in research through laboratory courses, directed study projects and honors theses. These undergraduate research opportunities teach students to develop testable questions and hypotheses, operationally define variables, gather and analyze data, interpret results, and write research reports using APA format, all of which are skills that are valued in many work settings and necessary for graduate study. Finally, in both lecture and laboratory courses as well as in our research with students, the Department of Psychological Science emphasizes the importance of critical thinking, communication and research skills.

Psychology Department Website

Career Opportunities

The Department of Psychological Science offers a variety of courses designed to prepare students for graduate work in psychology as well as for positions in research, human services settings and secondary education. The psychological science major at Albion College also provides excellent preparation for a variety of other professional areas, including law, medicine and business.

During their junior and senior years, students are able to participate in the department's internship program (Psychology Practicum) that allows them to work in a variety of field settings (e.g., mental hospitals, juvenile homes, counseling centers, schools and human resource departments), thus exploring various career options. The students are encouraged to conduct independent research projects that, in many cases, culminate in an honors thesis.

Special Features

Because the department has a strong commitment to research, upper-level students are strongly encouraged to make use of Olin Hall's laboratory facilities for investigating memory, psychophysiology, perception, language, learning, motivation, behavior and developmental/social processes in collaboration with faculty. Instruction in the Department of Psychological Science includes lecture and class discussion as well as laboratory experiences. Computers are used in many courses for data analysis, experiments and simulations.

Our major has been approved as a certifiable secondary school teaching major by the State Department of Education.

Albion maintains a chapter of Psi Chi, the national psychology honorary society.

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