At a moment when popular culture is obsessed with reality television and new technology permits “real time” access to current events, this course examines the concept of reality in philosophy, literature, and film. What is the relationship between language and reality? How do different genres and media conjure and evoke the world around us? How do visual and linguistic representations mediate our understanding of the “true” and the “real?” We will begin the course by examining key philosophical works by Plato, G.W. Hegel, and Karl Marx . We will then discuss how writers associated with disparate aesthetic movements such as romanticism, realism, surrealism, and magical realism claimed to render and define reality. Lastly, we will consider the force of the photographic image and assess its relationship to evidence and truth. Here, our primary texts will include works of photography and documentary film. This is a writing intensive seminar that will help you discover your critical voice as an academic writer. Students will explore all aspects of the writing process through semi-weekly assignments designed to facilitate engagement with course readings and develop critical writing skills.