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 not currently included, or with any qualms you might have with any of the selections or their categorization.

Humanity’s Relationship with Nature


Powers, Richard – The Overstory


Stafford, Fiona – A Long, Long Life of Trees


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 (as 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

Okja – Joon-ho, Bong, 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


Fromm, Erich

Chomsky, Noam Manufacturing Consent

Hobbes, Thomas – Leviathan


On Revolution



Luxembourg, Rosa – Reform or Revolution

Lenin, V.I. – State and Revolution

Reed, John – 10 Days That Shook the World


Reds – Beatty, Warren, Director

Race Relations in the United States and Beyond


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


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”


Smith, Danez – “Homie”

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

Walcott, Derek –


Wilson, August – Jitney

Wilson, August – Fences

Nottage, Lynn – Intimate Apparel

           Companion Piece: Fabulation (Nottage, Lynn)



Do The Right Thing – Lee, Spike


Gil Scott Heron

Economic Inequality


As a starting point, 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 – Capital, 1&2

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:


Isherwood, Christopher – The Berlin Stories


Wiesel, Elie – Night

The Death of Democracy

Larson, Eric – In the Garden of Beasts

Frankl, Viktor – Man’s Search for Meaning

Philosophy (Moral)



Smith, Adam – A Theory of Moral Sentiments

Weisel, Elie – Dawn


Apocalypse Now – Coppola, Francis Ford (director)


Goethe, Johann – Faust

           1. Discussion of the soul as 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


Camus, Albert – “The Myth of Sisyphus”




Miller, Henry – Tropic of Cancer

Irvine, John – The 158 Pound Marriage

            1. The unreliable narrator


Jameson, Fredric – Postmodernism, or,


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



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

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


Orange, Tommy – There, There



Smoke Signals

The Struggle for Indigenous Rights