TheSyllabus

In the absence of debt-inducing higher education and degree-seeking, this syllabus is comprised of the works I studied, and 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 in society, and how to effectively dismantle the power structures that in exist in every facet and institution of society in order to achieve a more-perfect future. Too is the goal then to understand the selfishness of humankind (selfish acts), the continued subservience to authority in this context, and the endless need for humankind’s dominance over nature (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, exhaustive, or entirely comprehensive – it is only what I have been able to read, watch, and internalize thus far, and what has left an impact on me and my work. I acknowledge that, for certain subjects especially, I have only just scratched the surface. It is a start. Please reach out with any additional materials and things I have missed, or with any qualms you have with any of the selections or their categorization.

Humanity and Nature

Fiction

Powers, Richard – The Overstory

Nonfiction

Stafford, Fiona – A Long, Long Life of Trees

Films

Walkabout – Roeg, Nicholas (director)

           1. How our relationship with nature informs our worldview

                       Companion piece: Stormboy (film, 1976) (Safran, Henri, director)

Aguirre: The Wrath of God – Herzog, Werner (director)

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

           2. The human need to “conquer” Nature

Deliverance – Borman, John (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

On Authority

Fiction

Kafka, Franz – The Trial

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

Mueller, Herta – The Land of Green Plums

Mueller, Herta – The Appointment

Nonfiction

Fromm, Erich

Chomsky, Noam Manufacturing Consent

Film

On Revolution

Fiction

Nonfiction

Luxembourg, Rosa – Reform or Revolution

Lenin, V.I. – State and Revolution

Film

Reds – Beatty, Warren (director)

Race Relations in the United States and Beyond

Fiction

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

Baldwin, William – If Beale Street Could Talk

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

Nunez, Elizabeth – Beyond the Limbo Silence

           1. Understanding the identity of place

Nonfiction

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

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

Kendi, Ibram X – How To Be Antiracist

Baldwin, William – The Fire Next Time

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

Cruse, Harold – “Rebellion or Revolution”

Poetry

Smith, Danez – “Homie”

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

Walcott, Derek –

Theater

Wilson, August – Jitney

Wilson, August – Fences

Nottage, Lynn – Intimate Apparel

           Companion Piece: Fabulation (Nottage, Lynn)

Tempest

Film

Music

Gil Scott Heron

Economic Inequality

Fiction

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”

Nonfiction (General)

Orwell, George – The Road to Wigan Pier

           1. The working class, how it has changed

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

Orwell, George – Down and Out in Paris and London

Marx, Karl – Das Kapital

Marx, Karl & Engers, Karl – The Communist Manifesto

German Studies

The Holocaust – what we’ve learned, and what we haven’t from the rise and fall of the Third Reich:

Fiction

Isherwood, Christopher – The Berlin Stories

Nonfiction

Wiesel, Elie – Night

The Death of Democracy

Larson, Eric – In the Garden of Beasts

Frankl, Viktor – Man’s Search for Meaning

Philosophy (Moral)

Fiction

Nonfiction

Smith, Adam – A Theory of Moral Sentiments

Weisel, Elie – Dawn

Film

Apocalypse Now – Coppola, Francis Ford (director)

Theater

Goethe, Johann – Faust

           1. Discussion of the soul as the basis for morality

Poetry

Gibran, Khalil – “The Prophet”

Philosophy (Political)

Fiction

Nonfiction

Paine, Thomas – “Common Sense”

Parenti, Michael – Black Shirts and Reds

Philosophy (Existential)

Fiction

Camus, Albert – The Plague

Nonfiction

Camus, Albert – “The Myth of Sisyphus”

Film

Postmodernism

Fiction

Miller, Henry – Tropic of Cancer

Irvine, John – The 158 Pound Marriage

            1. The unreliable narrator

Nonfiction

Jameson, Fredric – Postmodernism, or,

Film

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm, Take 2 – Greaves, William (director)

            Companion piece: Symbiopsychotaxiplasm, Take One – Greaves, William (director)

8 1/2 – Fellini, Federico (director)

Taxi Driver – Scorsese, Martin (director)

           1. The city as a character

Music – Part One (early)

Glass, Phillip

Cage, John

Music – Part Two (recent)

Food and Culture

Fiction

Nonfiction

Bourdain, Anthony – Kitchen Confidential

            Companion piece – Parts Unknown, No Reservations (Television series’)

Fischer, M.F.K. –

Notes of a Young Black Chef

Film

Babette’s Feast

Like Water for Chocolate

Spirited Away – Miyazaki, Hayao (director)

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, happens behind closed doors –

  • What we choose to show in full display and in secret; how does the film break these barriers through nudity,
  • What if the roles were reversed – both man and woman, and food and sex

Moonstruck – Jewison, Norman (director)

Indigenous History & Culture

Fiction

Orange, Tommy – There, There

Nonfiction

Film

Smoke Signals

The Struggle for Indigenous Rights