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I am designing a seminar for 14 highly motivated, well-prepared U.S. high school seniors, and I need your help! My initial thoughts:

“Course title: Religion and Politics in the Contemporary World

Course description: How do people’s religious beliefs and practices influence their political beliefs and practices? How to their political views inform their religious commitments? To develop our understandings of how these two powerful forces relate to each other we will look at a series of present-day case studies:

-Religion in the 2012 United States Presidential and national elections

-Religion and the State in contemporary Israel

-the Arab Spring in Egypt

-Secularization and religious diversity in Western Europe

-Religion and the states of contemporary India and Pakistan

-other case studies to be selected as current events warrant”

What other themes should I seek to address? What key questions should be on the table? And most importantly from my perspective in building this class, do you have recommendations for readings? Reading level: New Yorker and Atlantic articles, newspaper articles, Ted talks, scholarly essays with minimal jargon, well-edited historical sources (ie, something from the 17th century can work if it is introduced clearly and edited down to 15-20 pages.) Essentially if it would work for a high-powered college freshman it will work with these guys.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!