Course Description

MIT 342B (Winter 2006)   Thinking with 'Reality TV': Explorations in Contemporary Visual Culture

Instructor: A. Hearn

Course Description
This course will explore the new generic phenomenon of 'reality television' alongside current debates about the formation, role, and impact of our contemporary visual culture. We will review theories of visuality and perception, the spectacle and scopic regimes of meaning, spectatorship and subjectivity, the real and the post-real, as they have been advanced in and through modern cultural theory, and apply them to (arguably) the most mundane and degraded of current cultural forms - the 'reality television' show. We will ask some very simple questions of these television shows: What do they do? What do they want? And to what do they bear witness? But in so doing, via theoretical critique and analysis, we will engage with some of the most central political concerns of our imageobsessed culture.

Prerequisites: At least 65% in each of MIT 1200F/G, MIT1500A/B and MIT 1700F/G

3 lecture hours, 0.5 course