Conference on Reality Television and Politics

Reel Politics: Reality Television as a Platform for Political Discourse

International Reality Television Conference
Location: Kadir Has University, Istanbul, TURKEY
Date: September 12, 2008 – September 14, 2008

When Survivor: Cook Islands (2006) in the United States premiered as a contest between races, discussions regarding racial inequality and how Survivor would reinforce or challenge racial stereotypes inevitably followed.  The examples concerning how reality television may trigger political discussions are not limited to Survivor: Cook Islands.  The place of reality television in the contemporary political discourses followed a variety of reality shows, such as Big Brother (surveillance and privacy), Beauty and the Geek (gender inequality and stereotypes), The Real World (religion, gender and homosexuality), American Idol (voting patterns), and The Apprentice (American dream)

Reality TV indeed is an international phenomenon. We are inviting scholars from all over the world to submit your completed manuscripts or abstracts that discuss whether/how reality programs serve as a platform for a political discussion in different cultural or national contexts. These issues include but are not limited to race, nationality, religion, gender inequality, privacy, copyrights. We aim to produce an edited volume out of the papers submitted for this conference.

Possible topics include:
• Whether and why reality television should or should not be any different from other genres as a platform for discussion of issues related to politics.
• Whether/how television viewers use reality television to form opinions about politics, race, etc.
• Whether fans of reality television find these discussions as central or peripheral to their enjoyment of the genre.
• How participants of reality programs feel about being a part of controversies about issues related to daily politics.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
•    Dr. Annette Hill (Professor, University of Westminster)
•    Dr. Mark Andrejevic (Associate Professor, University of Iowa)
•    Dr. Marwan M. Kraidy (Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania)

Submit a 500 word maximum proposal or paper to:
Lemi Baruh


For further information about the conference, contact:
Dr. Lemi Baruh (
Dr. Ji Hoon Park (