Michael Jackson : Grasping the Spectacle book cover
1st Edition

Michael Jackson
Grasping the Spectacle

ISBN 9781409446965
Published September 18, 2012 by Routledge
260 Pages

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Book Description

Throughout his 40-year career, Michael Jackson intrigued and captivated public imagination through musical ingenuity, sexual and racial spectacle, savvy publicity stunts, odd behaviours, and a seemingly apolitical (yet always political) offering of popular art. A consistent player on the public stage from the age of eight, his consciousness was no doubt shaped by his countless public appearances, both designed and serendipitous. The artefacts he left behind - music, interviews, books written by and about him, and commercial products including dolls, buttons, posters, and photographs, videos, movies - will all become data in our cultural conversation about who Michael Jackson was, who he wanted to be, who we made him to be, and why. Michael Jackson: Grasping the Spectacle includes essays that aim to understand Jackson from multiple perspectives: critical cultural theory, musicology, art history, media studies, cultural anthropology, sociology, philosophy, religious studies, literary theory, gender studies, performance studies, disability studies, film studies, and African-American studies. Intended for classroom use as well as research and general interest, this book expands our understanding both of this fascinating figure himself and of gender, sexuality, celebrity, and popular culture.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: chasing the spectacle of Michael Jackson, Christopher R. Smit; Part I Mythology and Identity: Freaks ( from On Michael Jackson), Margo Jefferson; Michael Jackson and the myth of race and gender, Julian Vigo; Sentenced to Neverland: Michael Jackson, Peter Pan, and queer futurity, Amy C. Billone; Michael Jackson and the quandary of Black identity, Sherrow O. Pinder. Part II Music and Image: The 'split' biography: Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story, Jesse Schlotterbeck; From pop icon to postmodern kitsch: images of Michael Jackson in contemporary art, Brett M. Van Hoesen; Putting the music back into Michael Jackson studies, Christopher Wiley; 'We are here to change the world': Captain EO and the future of utopia, Carl Miller; Tomorrow today: Michael Jackson as science fiction, character, author, and text, Ruchi Mital. Part III Body and Death: Dancing with the Elephant Man's bones, Raphael Raphael; Cultural anxiety surrounding a plastic prodigy: a performance analysis of Michael Jackson as an embodiment of post-identity politics, Julie-Ann Scott; The unbearable lightness of being Michael: the religious witness of Michael Jackson, David Dark; 'We going to see the king': Christianity and celebrity at Michael Jackson's memorial, Diana York Blaine; Remember to always think twice: the reconciliation of Michael Jackson, Zack Stiegler; Bibliography; Index.

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Christopher R. Smit is Associate Professor at the Department of Media Studies, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan in the USA.


’... offers a captivating overview, detached and critical, it highlights and revisits in an illuminating way the narrative layers of a postmodern artist...’. Volume! (translated from French)