2007-08 Religion and Politics

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Together these  books provide a nuanced perspective of religious extremism as it plays out--or might play out--in both the Christian and the Muslim worlds. The Handmaid's Tale is a modern classic, detailing a young woman's life in a dystopian society. The Swallows of Kabul is a very human story of two couples living under the strict rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Both are works of fiction.

Reader's Guides


Dr. Nelta Edwards (Sociology) and Tara Smith (College Preparatory and Developmental Studies) served as Faculty Associates for the Books of the Year in 2007-08, helping to promote the books across campus, leading discussion groups, and assisting faculty in building the Books into their class curricula.

The 2007-08 Books of the Year readings were part of the Engaging Controversy initiative at UAA and APU.  The theme was chosen to complement a large-scale community education project called Meeting Islam: Engaging Muslim Beliefs, Cultures, Politics which was led by APU.  Spurred by a generous gift to APU's Cardinal Newman Foundation, this collaborative project involved many organizations, including three Anchorage-based universities (APU, UAA, and Wayland Baptist), the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, the Loussac Library, the Interfaith Council, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the World Affairs Council, the Anchorage School District, and many others.  With the help of the Cardinal Newman Foundation, the project brought four nationally prominent Islamic scholars to Anchorage during Spring 2008.

Past Curriculum Examples