Past Course Texts and Themes:

Short Stories: Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories by Sherman Alexie
Novel: The Namesake by
Jhumpa Lahiri
Poetry: American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement edited by Virgil Suarez and Ryan G. Van Cleave
Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes: Revised and Complete Edition by Tony Kushner

Environment and Sustainability
Green is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege by Will Potter
The Sustainability Generation: The Politics of Change and Why Personal Accountability is Essential NOW!  by Mark Coleman and L. Hunter Lovins
Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change b
y Elizabeth Kolbert
Will the Flower Slip Through the Asphalt: Writers Respond to Capitalist Climate Change by Naomi Klein, Amitav Ghosh, et al.

Activism (non-fiction)
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
The Art of Protest: Culture and Activism from the Civil Rights Movement to the Streets of Seattle by T.V. Reed
Writing to Change the World
by Mary Pipher
The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century
by Grace Lee Boggs

Activism through Literature
Poetry: African-American Poetry: an Anthology 1773-1927 edited by Joan R. Sherman
Plays: Inside/Outside: Six Plays from Palestine and the Diaspora editors Ismail Khalidi and Naomi Wallace
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
Novel (graphic): V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
Short Stories:
Great Short Stories by American Women edited by Candace Ward

Mastering the Mind (also Challenges, Failures and Perseverance)
Unstoppable: 45 Powerful Stories of Perseverance and Triumph from People Just Like You by Cynthia Kersey
Drive: the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

Listening to the Music Inside Us
This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin
All Shook Up: How Rock ‘n’ Rock Changed America by Glenn C. Altshuler
The Death and Life of the Music Industry in the Digital Age by Jim Rogers
Analysing Popular Music: Image, Sound and Text by David Machin
Music and Culture by Anna Tomasino
Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
Ripped by Greg Kot

Altered Realties: The Impact and Controversies of Illegal Drugs
Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico by Beto O’Rourke and Susie Byrd
Drug Lord: The Life and Death of a Mexican Kingpin by Terrence E. Poppa
Drugs: Should we Legalize, Decriminalize, or Deregulate? ed. Jeffrey A. Schaler, PhD

Healthcare, Disease and Wellness
Key Debates in Healthcare by Gary Taylor and Helen Hawley
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
28: Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen
Mountain Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder
Sizwe’s Test: A Young Man’s Journey through Africa’s AIDS Epidemic by Jonny Steinberg
We Kiss the Rain by Futhi Ntshingila

Outward and Inward Journeys
Book: A Woman in Jerusalem by A. B. Yehoshua
Short Stories: The Literary Traveler: An Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction editor Larry Dark
Short Stories: The Best Women’s Travel Writing ed. Lavinia Spalding
Poetry: American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement by Virgil Suarez and Ryan G. Van Cleave
Play: Valparaiso: A Play by Don DeLillo
Play: The Overwhelming by J.T. Rogers

The Individual Struggle Against Societal Pressures
Play (Norway):  A Doll’s House  by Henrik Ibsen
(Afghanistan)  :  A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Poetry (United States):  Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry eds. Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Jennifer Gillan
Short stories (Russia/New York): There Are Jews in My House by Lara Vapnyar

Impact of the Changing Media
YouTube: Digital Media and Society Series by Jean Burgess & Joshua Green
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman
Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet by Sherry Turkle
Losing the News: The Future of the News that Feeds Democracy by Alex S. Jones

Exploring Memoir: Overcoming Adversity and Journeying to Selfhood
Philippines – The Oracles: My Filipino Grandparents in America by Pati Navalta Poblete
Vietnam – The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three Wars by Andrew X. Pham
Pakistan – In the Name of Honor by Mukhtar Mai
Honduras – Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario

Memoir: Journeys Through War
Night by Elie Weisel
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
by Malala Yousafzai
Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles by Anthony Swofford
Breaking News: A Stunning and Memorable Account of Reporting from Some of the Most Dangerous Place in the World by Martin Fletcher
Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific by Robert Leckie
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (graphic novel) by Marjane Satrapi

Banned Books: Meanings Behind Censorship
Opposing Viewpoints Series - Censorship (paperback edition) by Andrea C. Nakaya
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence by Marion Dane Bauer (editor)
The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Crossing Countries, Crossing Cultures


Dominican Republic – The Other Side: El Otro Lado by Julia Alvarez
Spain – The Selected Poems of Federico Garcia Lorca eds Lorca and Allen

Mexico – Mexican Poetry: An Anthology complied by Octavio Paz, trans. Samuel Beckett

Latin America -- These Are Not Sweet Girls: Poetry by Latin American Women eds. Marjorie Agosin

El Salvador -- The Country Between Us poetry by Carolyn Forche

Africa -- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Cuba -- Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia

India –
The White Tiger: A Novel by Aravind Adiga

Africa -- Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih

Philippines -- The Umbrella Country by Bino Realuyo

Short Stories:
Russia -- Best Russian Short Stories ed. Thomas Seltzer
Middle East –
Arab Women Writers: An Anthology of Short Stories by Dalya Cohen-Mor

India -- Diamond Dust: Stories by Anita Desai


Russia –
Chekhov: The Essential Plays by Anton Chekhov, trans. Michael Henry Heim

Britain -- Cloud 9 play by Caryl Churchill
China -- The Other Shore plays by Gao Xingjian
South Africa --
Master Harold and the Boys by Athol Fugard

Living in the U.S.A: American Values and Ideologies
America Street: A Multicultural Anthology of Stories ed. Anne Mazer
Generation Me by Jean M. Twenge Ph.D.
Culture Jam: How to Reverse America’s Suicidal Consumer Binge by Kalle Lasn
The Argument Culture: Stopping America’s War of Words by Deborah Tannen
American Values: Opposing Viewpoints ed. Mary E. Williams
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
I'll Be Short by Robert B. Reich
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Hate Crimes by Jack Levin & Jack McDevitt
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman

Writing as a Form of Protest
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Storm from the East by Milton Viorst
1984 by George Orwell   

Madness and Genius
Mrs. Dalloway
by Virginia Woolf        
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad                      
Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams     
One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey

Diaspora: Those Forced from Their Homelands
Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora by Andrew Lam
The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks by Randall Robinson                       
Genocide of the Mind: New Native American Writing ed. MariJo Moore
Our Feet Walk the Sky: Women of the Southern Diaspora
eds. Women of S. Asian Decent Collective

Science Fiction
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The African-American Experience (ASTEP)
The Rap on Gangsta Rap: Who Run It? Gangsta Rap and Visions of Violence by Bakari Kitwana
The Envy of the World: On Being a Black Man in America by Ellis Cose
The Black Woman: An Anthology edited by Toni Cade Bambara
The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat
Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member by Sanyika Shakur aka Monster Kody Scott
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas by Frederick Douglas
The Third Life of Grange Copeland by Alice Walker
Makes Me Wanna Holler by Nathan McCall
The Debt by Randall Robinson
What is Cool?: Understanding Black Manhood in America by Marlene Kim Connor
Flat-Footed Truths: Telling Black Women's Lives by Patricia Bell-Scott
Black Boy by Richard Wright
The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor

The Latino Experience (Puente)
House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca
Hombres y Machos by Alfredo Mirande
Strangers Among Us by Robert Suro
Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia
The Red Camp by Debra Diaz
Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez
De Colores Means All of Us by Elizabeth Martinez
The Latino/a Condition eds. Delgado and Stefancic
Harvest of Empire by Juan Gonzalez
Growing Up Chicano/a by Tiffany Ana Lopez
Macho! by Victor Villasenor
Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
Always Running by Luis J. Rodriguez
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Savages by Joe Kane

Marginalized Peoples – Living on the Margins
Mexican Migrant Workers: The Red Camp by Debra Diaz
Asian Americans: Asian Americans: Oral Histories of First to Fourth Generation Americans by Joann Faung Jean Lee
Economics for Women: Glass Ceilings and Bottomless Pits: Women's Work, Women's Poverty by Albelda and Tilly
Homeless Women: Tell Them Who I Am by Elliot Liebow
Gays and Lesbians: Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price by Warren J. Blumenfeld
The Disabled: The Body Silent: The Different World of the Disabled by Robert F. Murphy
Black gangs: Makes me Wanna Holler by Nathan McCall
African-Americans (poetry): African-American Poetry: an Anthology 1773-1927 edited by Joan R. Sherman
Transgendered (short story-memoir): Sexual Metamorphosis: an Anthology of Transsexual Memoirs edited by Jonathan Ames
Muslims in the U.S. (novel): If I Should Speak by Umm Zakiyyah
Asian Americans (plays): Asian American Plays for a New Generation edited by Lee, Eitel, and Shiomi

The Essential Gandhi by Mahatma Gandhi
Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King Jr.                         
Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks
You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train by Howard Zinn
A Triumph of Spirit by Cesar Chavez
A Call to Conscience by Martin Luther King Jr.                       
Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Search for Self and Identity   
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
The Awakening by Kate Chopin                        
Growing Up Asian American ed. Maria Hong
Half and Half: Writers on Growing up Biracial & Bicultural ed. Claudine Chiawei O'Hearn
Black Looks: Race and Representation by bell hooks
Honky by Dalton Conley

Two Americas     
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol
Growing Up Asian American ed. Maria Hong
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
8 Ball Chicks: A Year in the Violent World of Girl Gangs by Gini Sikes
Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston & James D. Houston

Exploring California
Toward the Setting Sun by Mary Barmeyer O'Brien
California Time by Ernest J. Finney
Forever Foreigners or Honorary Whites? by Mia Tuan
Five Fires by David Wyatt
Macho! by Victor Villasenor