In the absence of further debt-inducing higher education, this syllabus was comprised of literature, film, music, and art I studied, through which the basis for my own work was formed.

The goal was to discover the root of inequality in society, address the present state of racial, economic, educational inequalities, and find ways to effectively dismantle the power structures and institutions that perpetuate these inequalities to help build a better future.

The goal is also to understand the nature of humanity, our continued subservience to authority in this context, and the endless need for dominance over the natural world (especially in the context of Climate Change) on both an individual and societal level.

I acknowledge that this is in no way a complete list – it is not exhaustive or comprehensive – it is only what I have been able to read, watch, and internalize thus far, and has left an impact on me and my work. In certain subjects especially, I have only scratched the surface. It is a start, and a work in progress.

Please reach out with any additional materials and things not currently included, or with any qualms you might have with any of the selections or their categorization.

Note: The contents of the section under each subheading are alphabetized.

Our Relationship with Nature


Powers, Richard – The Overstory


Stafford, Fiona – A Long, Long Life of Trees


Deliverance – Borman, John, Director

Aguirre: The Wrath of God – Herzog, Werner, Director

           1. The ego as unique to humans (as separate from nature)

           2. The human need to “conquer” nature

Okja – Joon-ho, Bong, Director

Princess Mononoke – Miyazaki, Hayao, Director

           1. Human violence as the antithesis to the natural harmony found in nature

           2. Violence (against nature and other humans) as the result of greed

Walkabout – Roeg, Nicholas, Director

           1. How our relationship with nature informs our worldview (see also:

                       Companion piece: Stormboy (film, 1976 – Safran, Henri, Director

On Authority


Kafka, Franz – The Trial

            Companion piece – The Trial (film, 1962 – Welles, Orson, Director)

Mueller, Herta – The Land of Green Plums

Mueller, Herta – The Appointment


Chomsky, Noam Manufacturing Consent

Fromm, Erich

Hobbes, Thomas – Leviathan

Newton, Huey P.


On Revolution



Lenin, V.I. – State and Revolution

Luxembourg, Rosa – Reform or Revolution

Reed, John – 10 Days That Shook the World


Reds – Beatty, Warren, Director

Racism in the United States


Baldwin, William – If Beale Street Could Talk

           Companion piece: If Beale Street Could Talk (film, 2018 – Jenkins, Barry, Director)

Gaines, Earnest, J. – A Gathering of Old Men

Nunez, Elizabeth – Beyond the Limbo Silence

           1. Understanding the identity of place


Baldwin, William – The Fire Next Time

Cleaver, Eldridge – “Post-Prison Writings and Speeches”

           1. Race relations in the 1970’s, i.e. race relations post MLK and Malcolm X; the continuing fight for equality in a “new” era

Cruse, Harold – “Rebellion or Revolution”

Kendi, Ibram X – How To Be Antiracist

Kylte, Ethan J. & Roberts, Blain – Denmark Vesey’s Garden


Giovanni, Nikki – “Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgment”

Smith, Danez – “Homie”

Walcott, Derek –


Nottage, Lynn – Intimate Apparel

           Companion Piece: Fabulation (Nottage, Lynn)

Wilson, August – Jitney

Wilson, August – Fences



Do The Right Thing – Lee, Spike


Scott Heron, Gil

Economics & Economic Inequality


A side-by-side comparison of:

Dreiser, Theodore – An American Tragedy

Tolstoy, Leo – Crime and Punishment

            1. How economic inequality and class differences drive desperation, and subsequent violence

            2. An exploration of the phrase “at any cost” in terms of survival in a capitalist society

Nonfiction (General)

Orwell, George – The Road to Wigan Pier

           1. The working class, how it has changed

           2. The continued fight against the “old men” in charge

Orwell, George – Down and Out in Paris and London

Marx, Karl – Capital, 1&2

Marx, Karl & Engers, Karl – The Communist Manifesto

German History

The Holocaust – what we have learned (and what we have not) from the rise and fall of the Third Reich:

Note: These are texts, etc. that deal specifically with the historical event, and not the philosophy or works of those who lived in/around that time, which have been sorted into their respective sections throughout the Syllabus.


Isherwood, Christopher – The Berlin Stories


Frank, Anne The Diary of Anne Frank

Frankl, Viktor – Man’s Search for Meaning

The Death of Democracy

Larson, Eric – In the Garden of Beasts

Wiesel, Elie – Night

Philosophy (Moral)



Smith, Adam – A Theory of Moral Sentiments

Weisel, Elie – Dawn


Apocalypse Now – Coppola, Francis Ford (director)


Goethe, Johann – Faust

           1. Discussion of a/the “soul” as a/the basis for morality


Gibran, Khalil – The Prophet

Philosophy (Political)



Paine, Thomas – “Common Sense”

Parenti, Michael – Black Shirts and Reds

Philosophy (Existential)


Camus, Albert – The Plague

The Existentialist’s Cafe


Camus, Albert – “The Myth of Sisyphus”




Miller, Henry – Tropic of Cancer

Irvine, John – The 158 Pound Marriage

            1. The unreliable narrator role in shaping the sympathies of the reader


Jameson, Fredric – Postmodernism, or,


8 1/2 – Fellini, Federico (director)

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm, Take 2 – Greaves, William, Director

            Companion piece: Symbiopsychotaxiplasm, Take One – Greaves, William, Director

Taxi Driver – Scorsese, Martin, Director

           1. The city as a character; “place” as a living thing

Music – Part One (early)

Glass, Phillip

Cage, John

Music – Part Two (recent)

Food and Culture



Bourdain, Anthony – Kitchen Confidential

            Companion piece – Parts Unknown, No Reservations (television series)

Fischer, M.F.K. –

Notes of a Young Black Chef


Babette’s Feast

Like Water for Chocolate

A Cook, A Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover – Greenaway, Peter, Director

            1. Food at the center of life

            2. The relationship between food and sex

            3. The notion of “manners” – i.e. social etiquette – and dining in public: the performance vs. the clandestine and happens behind closed doors

  • What we choose to show in full display and in secret; how does the film break these barriers through nudity,
  • Discussion of role reversal – man and woman, food and sex

Moonstruck – Jewison, Norman (director)

Spirited Away – Miyazaki, Hayao, Director

Indigenous History & Culture in the United States


Orange, Tommy – There, There



Smoke Signals

Reservation Dogs (television series)

Land Back & the Struggle for Indigenous Rights