Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in American Studies (MAST)

Department

Interdisciplinary Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Hill

Second Advisor

Dr. Griselda Thomas

Abstract

With its multitude of sub-genres, larger than life personalities, and fifteen minutes of fame offerings, reality television has quickly changed the face and economics of television culture. This research examines the disruption of traditional roles of race and class in reality television. Interdisciplinary in content and methodology, this study uses Real Housewives of Atlanta to identify the ways in which various representations of blackness challenge hegemonic understandings of what it means to be black in the United States. Focusing on the fluidity of identity, "I'm Rich Bitch" highlights the role that popular culture plays in redetermining populist perceptions of blackness.