The following are suggested texts organized by genre and format. Many are in the public domain and are linked here; others can be found in local libraries and bookstores. This is a living list, and we will continue to build a robust bibliography.  


historic documents and encyclicals

United States Constitution (1787)

United States Bill of Rights (1789)

Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789)

Secret Proceedings and Debates of the United States Constitutional Convention of 1789 (1844)

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

UN Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951)

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)

UN Conference on the Human Environment (1972)

Roe v. Wade (1973)

The Combahee River Collective Statement (1977)

UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979)

UN Convention Against Torture (1984)

Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

Remarks for the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women (1995)

Kyoto Protocol (1997)

Amnesty International: Women's Human Rights (2005)

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007)

Introduction to the UN Convention Against Torture by Hans Danelius (2008)  

People's Agreement of Cochabamba (2010)

Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol (2012)

UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner: Women's Rights are Human Rights (2014) 

Laudato Si: Papal Encyclical on the Environment and Human Ecology (2015)

Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

UNICEF FAQs: Convention on the Rights of the Child (2016)

Paris Agreement (2016)

City and County of San Francisco v. Donald J. Trump, John F. Kelly, and Dana J. Boente (2017)



Walt Whitman, "Election Day, November, 1884" (1884)

Walt Whitman, "Continuities" (1888)

Edward Thomas, "Liberty" (1917)

Stephen Vincent Benet, "American Names" (1927)

Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Modern Declaration" (1931)

Langston Hughes, "Let America Be America Again" (1935)

Langston Hughes, "I, Too" (1945)

Forugh Farrokhzad, "Another Birth" (1964)

Langston Hughes, "Frederick Douglass, 1817-1895" (1966)

Adrienne Rich, "The Burning of Paper Instead of Children" (1968-70)

Michael S. Harper, "American History" (1970)

Naomi Shihab Nye, "Fundamentalism" (1998)

David Baker, "Patriotics" (2002)

January Gill O'Neil, "On Being Told I Look Like FLOTUS, New Year's Eve Party 2014" (2016)



Thomas Paine, "Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs" from Common Sense (1776)

Immanuel Kant, "An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?" (1784)

Thomas Paine, "Part First, Section 1" from Age of Reason (1794)

Albert Camus, "Neither Victims Nor Executioners" (1946)

Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter From A Birmingham Jail" (1963)

Garrett Hardin, "The Tragedy of the Commons" (1968)

Judy Brady, "I Want a Wife" (1970)

Martha Nussbaum, "Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism" (1994)

Ruth Wilson Gimore, "In the Shadow of the Shadow State" (2009)

Wesley Morris, "The Year We Obsessed Over Identity" (2015)

Michael Rock, "The Accidental Power of Design" (2016)

Wesley Morris, "We the People Aren't Sure Who 'We' Even Are" (2016)

Bradford McKee, "Land Matters: Get Ready" (2016)

Lincoln Blades, "Why You Can't Ever Call An Enslaved Woman A 'Mistress'" (2017) 

Rebecca Solnit, "The Loneliness of Donald Trump" (2017) 


BOOKs and book-length essays

Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835-1840)

John Stuart Mill, The Subject of Women (1869)

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own (1929)

Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here (1935)

Henri Lefebvre, Critique of Everyday Life Volume 1 (1947; suggested pages 42-49)

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac (1949)

Albert Camus, The Rebel (1951)

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)

Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (1958)

Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961)

Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (1962) 

Lore Segal, Other People's Houses (1964)

Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968)

Daniel Berrigan, America Is Hard To Find (1972)

David Harvey, Social Justice and the City (1973)

Adrienne Rich, The Dream of a Common Language (1978)

Edward Said, Orientalism (1978; suggested pages 17-22)

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (1985)

Mother Teresa, My Life For The Poor (1985)

Daniel Berrigan, To Dwell in Peace: An Autobiography (1987)

Angela Davis, Women, Culture, and Politics (1989)

Barack Obama, Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (1995) 

Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006)

Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala (2013)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists (2014)

Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life (2017)