Departments and Courses

The following lists include all courses normally offered at Albion College. However, not all courses are offered every year. When possible, courses offered in alternate years are designated. For details, students should consult the Class Schedule for each semester, available online at: The College reserves the right to add or withdraw courses without prior announcement, as conditions may require.

Unless otherwise stated, 100 level courses are intended for freshmen, 200 level for sophomores, 300 and 400 level for juniors and seniors.

A list of courses which meet the core and category requirements, organized by departments, is available online at

Further information may be obtained at the Registrar's Office in the Ferguson Student, Technology, and Administrative Services Building. Anthropology and Sociology

2005-06 Academic Catalog

Though graduation requirements of the College may change while a student is enrolled, it is expected that each student will meet the graduation requirements outlined in the catalog that is in effect at the time he or she entered Albion. The "catalog of entry" philosophy is considered applicable for students who leave the College and whose interrupted course of study is not longer than five years.

Religious Studies


Selva J. Raj, chair and Stanley S. Kresge Professor of Religious Studies.
B.A., 1975, Calcutta University; M.Ph., 1981, Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth; Ph.D., 1994, University of Chicago. Appointed 1995.

Sarianna K. Metso, assistant professor.
M. Theol., 1991, University of Helsinki; Doc. Theol. (equivalent to a Ph.D. in the U.S. system), 1997, University of Helsinki. Appointed 2000.

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

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; Syro-Palestinian archaeology; comparative religion; myth, symbol, and ritual; philosophy of religion; philosophical theology; ethics and society; religion and the arts; Asian religions; and religion and ecology. 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.

Current information about our department, including course offerings for the current semester, can be found on our home page, which is part of Albion College's World Wide Web site (http:

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. 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.

Requirements for Major

  • A minimum of eight units in religious studies, including Religious Studies 101--Introduction to Western Religions, and Religious Studies 102--Introduction to Eastern Religions. The major must include at least six other units, selected on the basis of a student's post-graduate interests. (See the description of "Tracks for the Major" below.) 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.

Students may choose one of two tracks for the major: a general track or a graduate studies track.

General Track--This track is intended for students with a broad interest in religious studies, or who may be planning a career in ordained ministry, social work or other work in the field of human services. Requirements of the General Track: Religious Studies 101, 102, one course in each of the three areas in religious studies at Albion listed below, and at least three other courses, chosen in consultation with a religious studies faculty adviser.

Graduate Studies Track--This track is intended for students planning to continue religious studies at the graduate level. Requirements of the Graduate Studies Track: Religious Studies 101, 102, one course in each of the three areas in religious studies at Albion listed below and at least three other courses, chosen from the single area in which a student intends to do graduate studies. Students electing the graduate studies track for the major must register for at least one unit of directed study for advanced research in their senior year or before.


(1) Biblical and Jewish Studies
Current courses in this area include: 121, 122, 215, 221, 320, 321, 322. (Dr. Metso is the principal instructor in this area.)

(2) Theology and Ethics
Current courses in this area include: 131, 232, 234, 242, 250, 270. (Dr. Mourad is the principal instructor in this area.)

(3) Asian and Comparative Religions
Current courses in this area include: 210, 211, 212, 288/289, 311, 313, 363. (Dr. Raj is the principal instructor in this area.)

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.

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) Fall, Spring
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. Metso, Mourad.

102 Introduction to Eastern Religions (1) Fall, Spring
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. Raj.

121 History, Literature and Religion of the Old Testament (1) Fall
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. Metso.

122 History, Literature and Religion of the New Testament (1) Spring
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. Metso.

131 Introduction to Christian Thought (1) Fall, Spring
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.

210 The Feminine in World Religions (1) Fall
Seeks to identify, through a careful examination of abundant cross-cultural data, the religious universals and the cultural and historical particulars of the feminine in world religions. Addresses two basic questions: Are there differences in women's experiences across various religions, cultures and time periods? What are the limitations and problems inherent in the application of one culturally conditioned interpretive model (for example, the Western feminist model) toward the understanding of women's religious experience in other cultures? Raj.

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

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

215 Jewish Life and Thought (1) Fall
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. Metso.

221 The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of Christianity (1) Spring
An introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls and their contribution to our understanding of the Bible and particularly of Jesus of Nazareth and the early Christian church. Provides a survey of the scrolls, a brief history of the period in which the scrolls were written, and a presentation of the various ways in which scholars have interpreted them. Includes in-depth study of selected texts and themes that shed light on the life and teachings of Jesus, the Gospels and the letters of Paul. Metso.

232 Faith and Reason (1) Spring
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) Spring
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) Fall
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) Fall, Spring
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.

270 Liberation Theology (1) Fall, Spring
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.

288, 289 Selected Topics (1)
An examination of important contemporary or perennial topics in religion. Offered occasionally. May be taken more than once for credit. Staff.

311 Religion and Ecology (1) Spring
Considers the relation between nature and the sacred in selected religious traditions such as Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism and "eco-religion." Raj.

313 Death and Dying in World Religions (1) Fall
A critical, comparative study of the beliefs and practices related to death and dying in a select number of religions and in American society. Raj.

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

321, 322 Colloquium in Biblical Studies (1 each) Fall
Prerequisite: Religious Studies 121 or 122. Explorations of significant biblical themes. Topics to be announced. Past colloquia have included ``Genesis and Job'' and "Jesus at the Movies." Offered occasionally. Metso.

363 Myth, Symbol and Ritual (1) Spring
Explorations into the meaning and value of myth, symbol and ritual, drawing upon the insights of depth psychology and religion. Topics include the nature of myth, its relation to ritual, and the importance and interpretation of symbols in human life. Offered in alternate years. Raj.

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) Fall Spring
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 tutorials. Staff.

Speech Communications


Margaret Young, chair and assistant professor.
B.A., 1990, M.A., 1993, University of Windsor; Ph.D., 2000, University of Michigan. Appointed 2001.

Karen Erlandson, visiting assistant professor.
B.A., 1992, M.A., 1995, Michigan State University; Ph.D., 2001, University of California, Santa Barbara. Appointed 2002.

Robert C. Swieringa, assistant professor.
A.B., 1980, A.M., 1990, Ph.D., 1999, University of Illinois. Appointed 2000.

Bruce J. Weaver, professor.
B.A., 1965, Moravian College; M.S., 1966, Kansas State University; Ph.D., 1974, University of Michigan. Appointed 1981.

Communication is the process that makes us human. It is through our ability to use symbolic expression that we develop our identities, gain personal effectiveness, and establish, maintain and change the societies in which we live. Communication is then a study which is central to the mission of the liberal arts. Students investigate how humans use signs and symbols to communicate in a variety of settings: interpersonal, public, organizational and mass communication contexts. In all of this study, students come to understand the mutually influencing and interdependent nature of all communication. Students majoring in speech communication may be interested in pursuing a mass communication concentration as well (see p. 71). Majors are expected to participate in all assessment objectives as outlined by the department.

Career Opportunities
Although this department's courses are within the mainstream of the liberal arts tradition, intended to provide important theory and practice for all Albion students, concentration in communication studies is especially valuable for students preparing for professions such as public service, public relations, advertising, business, electronic media, politics, education and the law.

Special Features
Internships are viewed as valuable learning experiences, and the department encourages all interested students to avail themselves of these opportunities if appropriate to the background and preparation of the students. Juniors and seniors have the opportunity to participate in semester internships in communication through the GLCA New York Arts Program. Students also can develop communication-related internships in advertising, public relations and other professions through a number of programs including the Philadelphia Center and the Washington Center. Internships are arranged by the staff of the GLCA programs in these cities and require faculty recommendation. Diverse local internships in the greater Albion community and surrounding area are also available.

The communication program offers the Lomas Scholarship to outstanding students in speech communication, and sponsors the annual Kropscott Symposium which provides students the opportunity to attend lectures and participate in workshops with nationally known scholars and practitioners in specific communication fields such as intercultural communication, communication ethics and environmental communication.

Requirements for Major

  • A minimum of nine units in speech communication, including: 101, 201, 241, 322; two courses from 202, 203, 205, 206, 207, 245; two courses from 301, 306, 311, 312, 313, 325, 341; one course from 351, 365.
  • Courses required for the major must be taken for a numerical grade.

Requirements for Minor

  • A minimum of six units in speech communication, including: 101, 201, 241, 322; one course from 202, 203, 205, 206, 207, 245; one course from 301, 306, 311, 312, 313, 325, 341.
  • Courses required for the minor must be taken for a numerical grade.

Requirements for Major With Elementary Education Certification
The exact requirements for certification in speech communication are currently under review. Students seeking certification to teach in the elementary classroom with a teaching major in speech communication should consult with the Speech Communication Department and the Albion College Education Department.

Requirements for Major With Secondary Education Certification
The exact requirements for certification in speech communication are currently under review. Students seeking certification to teach in the secondary classroom with a teaching major or minor in speech communication should consult with the Speech Communication Department and the Albion College Education Department.


101 Introduction to Human Communication (1) Fall, Spring
An introduction to the study of communication. Students investigate communication theory, models, symbols and signs, verbal and nonverbal communication, interpersonal communication, group communication, organizational communication, mass communication, communication ethics and new communication technologies. Staff.

201 Verbal and Nonverbal Communication (1) Fall
A study of verbal and nonverbal symbols and signs in human communication. Students investigate how verbal language is used in everyday interaction from a variety of theoretical and empirical perspectives. They also examine how the body, human space, the environment, dress and appearance are used to communicate, reinforce gender roles, establish dominance and facilitate cooperation. Swieringa, Staff.

202 Interpersonal and Family Communication (1) Spring
An investigation of the role communication plays in the formation, maintenance and dissolution of interpersonal and family relationships. Topics include the nature of communicators and communication environments, interaction rules, rituals and intimate dialogue in family systems. Erlandson.

203 Small Group and Organizational Communication (1) Fall
An overview of research and theory in small group and organizational communication from a historical and cultural perspective. Particular attention will be paid to communication and decision-making, and communication and organizational culture. Erlandson.

205 Mass Communication (1) Spring
An introduction to the different modes of mass communication--from the printing press to the Internet--from historical and cultural perspectives in order to understand the impact of mass communication on society. Topics include mass communication's production and reproduction of cultural mores and values, and the controversy surrounding media "effects." Young.

206 Rhetoric and Public Communication (1) Fall
A study of the history and theory of rhetoric, combined with application of principles of rhetorical analysis to a variety of communicative texts including political speeches, verbal and nonverbal messages of social movements, advertisements and music. This course is designed to enable students to understand the impact of persuasive or "rhetorical" messages on society. Staff.

207 Communicating Gender (1) Fall
An exploration of the ways in which gender and communication interact. Students are introduced to research in the field and observe and analyze the ways in which our cultural construction of gender impacts on how we communicate and judge the communication of others. Young, Erlandson.

241 Public Speaking (1) Fall, Spring
A theoretical and practical study of speaking in public. Students are introduced to classical and contemporary critical standards of excellence in oral style and delivery, while they develop skills in the art of speaking effectively in informational and persuasive situations. Staff.

245 Argumentation and Advocacy (1) Fall, Spring
An exploration of the most important models of argument. Students investigate the relationship between critical thinking and the techniques of reasoned advocacy and debate. Rules of evidence and valid inference formation are discussed while students participate in practical experiences for developing argumentative skills and critically applying argumentation models. Offered occasionally. Staff.

288, 289 Selected Topics (1/2 , 1) occasionally offered
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. An examination of a special topic not included in the regular curriculum. These courses are offered to meet the evolving needs and interests of students. Staff.

301 Studies in Free Speech (1) Spring
A practical and theoretical investigation of the evolution and impact of the First Amendment on American society through our political system, public discourse and communication technologies. Students participate in free speech discussions in a debate format. Staff.

306 Public Relations (1) Fall
A theoretical and practical examination of the public relations field, including internal and external communications as well as media relations. Students occasionally gain practical experience by participating in a major campaign. Staff.

311 Environmental Communication (1) Spring
A study of how the natural environment is socially constructed through its representation in word and image. After introducing students to fundamental environmental terminology, the course will consider a number of key environmental communicators, their ideological positions, and how they shape their messages. This will be followed by a discussion of audiences and environmental communication ethics. Staff.

312 Minority Images in American Media (1) Fall
A study of how minorities (racial, ethnic, sexual, etc.) and other categories of the socially marginalized (the poor, the homeless) have been portrayed throughout the twentieth century in American film and TV, from being made ``invisible'' to being stereotyped, and the impact of these images. Combines theoretical approaches and insights with a historical overview to increase students' awareness of the ideological nature of media images. Young.

313 Intercultural Communication (1) Spring
An exploration of the role communication plays in defining and sustaining culture both globally and locally. By applying current research and theories in intercultural communication, students are introduced to major topics pertaining to communication between cultures. Topics include, but are not limited to: the way a culture's deep meaning structure impacts the way people communicate, culture-specific verbal and nonverbal norms, advice on verbal and nonverbal behavior when doing business internationally, adjusting to culture shock and exploring various subcultures in the United States. Erlandson.

322 Communication Theory (1) Spring
Prerequisites: Speech Communication 201 and one other course in communication, or permission of instructor. An overview of contemporary theory and research methods in communication. Students study theoretical communication models, experimental studies and rhetorical research. Swieringa, Staff.

325 Visual Communication (1) Fall
A theoretical and critical introduction to the study, this course is divided into three parts: visual manipulation, visual literacy and the role of visual images in society. Students study how film editing works, how images can be juxtaposed for persuasive effect, whether or not images can ``lie'' and whether or not viewing skills are comparable to language skills. Young.

341 Advanced Public Speaking (1) Spring
Prerequisite: Speech Communication 241. Continuation of Speech Communication 241. Focuses on the adaptation of communication styles and content to diverse co-cultural speakers and audiences. Includes practice in securing the acceptance of ideas through psychological appeals as well as logical reasoning. Advanced work in speech communication research, preparation and delivery is required, as well as some media enhancement. Great speeches from the past will be used as models for analysis and application. Offered occasionally. Staff.

351 Persuasion (1) Fall
A theoretical analysis of the process of influencing belief, attitude or behavior through appeals to reason, emotion and ethos. Students investigate experimental and rhetorical theories in the field and the ethical considerations of persuasion. Staff.

365 Media Theory (1) Spring
Prerequisite: Speech Communication 205 or permission of instructor. An investigation of both critical and social scientific theories that examine the mass media's (potential) effects on audiences. Social scientific theory and research and the controversies surrounding them in the area of media ``effects'' are reviewed and evaluated to determine the efficacy of claims such as causal relationships between images of violence and real-world occurrences. Critical theory and research will also be investigated to determine if media create, perpetuate and sustain certain (sometimes objectionable) ideologies. Young.

370 Teaching Speech Communication (1)
Prerequisite: Permission of the department. Emphasizes the analysis and construction of courses of study, evaluation of textbooks and teaching materials, methods of directing co-curricular speech activities and demonstrations of teaching methods. Required of students who major or minor in speech communication in the secondary teaching curriculum. Does not count for the speech communication major or minor. Staff.

388, 389 Selected Topics (1/2 , 1) Fall, Spring
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. An examination of a special topic which is not included in the regular curriculum. These courses are offered to meet the evolving needs and interests of students. Staff.

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

402 Seminar (1) Fall, Spring
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing and permission of instructor. A detailed study of significant and relevant problems in speech communication. Specific topic for consideration will be determined before fall registration. Staff.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2 , 1) Fall, Spring

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