A MICHAEL JACKSON READER Essays on Popular Music, Sexuality, And Culture

full name / name of organization: 
Christopher R. Smit, Ph.D.
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Throughout his 40 year career, Michael Jackson intrigued and captivated public imagination through music ingenuity, sexual and racial spectacle, savvy publicity stunts, odd private (yet always public) behaviors, and a seemingly apolitical (yet always political) offering of popular art. Since the age of ten, Jackson was a consistent player on the public stage – countless public appearances, both designed and serendipitous, no doubt shaped the consciousness of this performer. The evidence we have of this shaping is seen in the artifacts he has left behind: music, interviews, books written by him, about him, a number of commercial products including dolls, buttons, posters, and photographs, videos, movies. All of these artifacts will become data in a cultural conversation and configuration about who Michael Jackson was, who he wanted to be, who we made him to be, and why.

A Michael Jackson Reader will include influential essays that aim to understand Jackson via a variety of academic methodologies; ethnographic, critical cultural theory, history, art history, media studies, sociology, psychology, philosophy, gender and sexuality, queer studies, etc.
A Michael Jackson Reader will include previously published essays and chapters by renowned authors and critics (i.e., Margo Jefferson, Jean-Paul Bourre, Dave Marsh, Aphrodite Jones and Tom Mesereau) and new scholarship.

Topics for essays could include but are not limited to the following:
• Media coverage of Jackson's death
• Historical pieces on Jackson's career
• Jackson's sexuality
• Jackson's gender
• Jackson's race
• Celebrity and the construction of an icon
• Spectacle
• Music production/criticism
• Sociological study of fandom
• Analyses of public versus private phenomenology
• Music video
• Global culture
• Philosophical discussion of Jackson
• Other

Please send to a 100 word query to Christopher Smit, Ph.D. by September 1, 2009. Also, feel free to contact with any questions.


Dr. Christopher R. Smit is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His edited collection Screening Disability: Essays on Cinema and Disability was published in 2001 by the University Press of America. Smit's essays on disability, media, popular music, and culture can be found in Disability Studies Quarterly, Studies in Popular Culture, Journal of Popular Culture, and several edited collections.