Projects in Reading and Writing

TOPIC: Television and the Making of American Identities


7405 2:30-3:45P TR FR C238

7406 4:00-5:15P TR KH 203

With programs on virtually every channel and two networks devoted exclusively to the genre one cannot deny reality television's popularity -- regardless of how one feels about its artistic merit. The colonizing effect that reality television has had on popular media makes it a rich venue from which to explore larger questions about our national desires and preoccupations. In other words, like it or not, reality TV has much to tell us about our various American Dreams and identities. In this class, we will examine reality television's links to our national identity. Since this is a reading and writing course, watching actual programs will occupy a small portion of class time. We will be more invested in the arguments set forth by cultural critics and in developing and writing our own arguments. Students will be expected to complete a substantial amount of reading, weekly quizzes, and several large writing assignments as well as a few smaller ones. Attendance and active class participation is expected.