This seminar will look to popular audio-visual formats, primarily reality TV (and streaming, YouTube, etc.) formats, that enact performances of 'makeovers'. For the purposes of this seminar, makeovers extend to formats that make-over the self (in particular, the body) and the home.
We will develop taxonomies for discussing the generic constraints of the formats as well as critical tools for thinking about the performances of selves and homes presented in them. Notions of style, taste and (self-)optimisation will be critically discussed to examine assumptions of class, in particular for the ways these ideas intersect with gender and 'race'.
The seminar entails working with some central ideas of cultural studies, such as gender, 'race', and class, as well as developing understandings of several key concepts, like performativity, mobility, status, and further forms of ideological critique, to question the ways and effects of these performances of (self-)optimisation.
A Reader with a selection of texts will be provided at the beginning of the course. We will workshop a selection of make-over texts (primarily shows, but also other formats) at the beginning of the semester.