This thesis is devoted to studying aspects of real-time nonequilibrium dynamics in quantum field theory by implementing an initial value formulation of quantum field theory. The main focus is on the linear relaxation of mean fields and quantum kinetics in nonequilibrium multiparticle quantum systems with potential applications to ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions, cosmological phase transitions and condensed matter systems. We first study the damping of fermion mean fields in a fermion-scalar plasma with a view towards understanding baryon transport phenomena during electroweak baryogenesis. Secondly, we apply and extend the renormalization group method to study nonequilibrium dynamics with the goals of constructing a quantum kinetic description that goes beyond usual Boltzmann kinetics and understanding anomalous relaxation associated with infrared phenomena. The final part of this thesis presents a real-time kinetic analysis of direct photon production from a quark-gluon plasma created in ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions. We show that the direct photon yield is significantly enhanced by the lowest order energy-nonconserving processes originated in the transient lifetime of the quark-gluon plasma.