Can reality television offer a new theory of reality? This course examines a prominent aspect of US popular culture--structured reality television programs--to explore questions of reality central to the Western intellectual tradition. Each week, we pair philosophical or theoretical texts with episodes of reality television, and see how these programs can elaborate, contravene, or reframe our conceptions of reality. Some questions include: What is reality, anyway, and why do we care about it? How do we know we're looking at reality? How is reality made, and can reality television do anything else than reflect its structures?
AMS 425 / ENG 423
William A. Gleason