Borges, "On Exactitude in Science"
This very-short story is cited by dozens of scholars, perhaps because it is such a rich metaphor for the limits of scientific representation. Borges is a wonderful writer, and if you like this you may consider reading more of him for your final paper.
This American Life, "Act One: National Tour," Simulated Worlds
This 13 minute clip (from 5:36-16:45) offers a nice introduction to Eco's essay. The whole episode is great, but this act offers some audio recordings from one of the museums that Eco visited, along with some insightful commentary by Ira Glass.
Umberto Eco, "Travels in Hyperreality"
This essay is quite lengthy, but it is full of intriguing observations about the hyper-real in America. Do your very best with it, and note two or three examples that you find particularly interesting.
Baudrillard, "Simulacra and Simulations"
Attached at the end of the Eco PDF is a short excerpt from Baudrillard, an infamous post-modern philosopher who made hyperreality a popular concept. For the philosophically-inclined, this offers deeper insights into the nature of the simulated. Give the first paragraph a shot, but if you don't have a taste for it feel free to stop reading.
Looking forward to your comments!