Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin': MJ in the Scholarly Literature: A Selected Bibliographic Guide"

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin': MJ in the Scholarly Literature: A Selected Bibliographic Guide"

Article excerpt

To say that researchers can find tons of material on Michael Jackson would be an understatement. Our original goal was to provide scholars with a guide to printed books, articles, websites and other online sources that researchers could use as legitimate content. We wanted to avoid sensationalist works like David Perel's Freak: Inside the Twisted World of Michael Jackson or National Enquirer type publications.

We felt that type of literature could defeat the purpose of honest scholarly investigation, despite the fact that these materials do tells us something about popular culture and the culture of the icon. We quickly found, however, that there simply was not enough time or space to put together a complete collection of books, articles, websites, etc., on Jackson for academic researchers. We could do a whole reference book on Jackson resources and still not cover it all. Indeed we found a number of M.A. theses and Ph.D. dissertations with Jackson content which we also have left out for the reasons stated above.

We consulted a copious number of articles to select the ones in this guide. We surveyed at least 100 different databases covering a wide range of subject areas from chemistry, music, general and humanities to engineering. The range of places scholars can find Jackson content surprised us. In the end, we chose to focus on articles in the academic literature. Each article in this guide meets at least one of the following criteria:

1) Was the article in a peer-reviewed journal?

2) If not, would it still be of interest to scholars and researchers?

3) Did the article have substantial Jackson content?

4) Is the Jackson content unique?

5) Does the article tell us something about the way we see popular icons including Jackson?

The breadth of Jackson's influence, beyond his just being a pop icon, is truly astounding. This bibliographic guide to the MJ in the scholarly literature just scratches the surface. We do, however, give scholars a place to start exploring the world of the "King of Pop" in academic literature. If nothing else, it illustrates just how pervasive Jackson's impact is.

Berberovic', Sanja. "The Michael Jackson of Two or Three Noses Ago and the Michael Jackson of Today." Jezikoslovlje 8.1 (2007): 27-44.

The title of this article is misleading because only a small portion is devoted to Michael Jackson. The author discusses the characteristics of personal names from a linguistic point of view. After detailed explanations of "figurative meaning" (31), "metonymic mappings" (31), and "partitive restrictive modification" (31) related to proper nouns, the article shifts to discussions about famous people such as: Zinedine Zidane, Saddam Hussein, George Bush, Shakira, Eminem, Shakespeare, and Michael Jackson. Each person is described as having different stages in his or her life that make that person seem like a different individual in each stage. Jackson's stages are characterized by his multiple cosmetic surgeries, his songs at the top of the charts, and his troubles dealing with child molestation charges and the trial. The author makes a point that some view the Michael Jackson of the 1980s as markedly different from the MJ of the 1990s and beyond.

Brooks, Jodi. "Ghosting the Machine: The Sounds of Tap and the Sounds of Film." Screen. 44.4 (Winter 2003): 355-78.

The author looks at the history of Hollywood tap dancing and how that history fits with traditional views of African-Americans and minstrel ideological understanding. Spike Lee's Bamboozled and MJ's Black or White video are analyzed as being different from the traditional mode of tap within Hollywood. Tap is a form of "sound writing" (358). Black or White is seen as a critique of tap's place in film. Brooks focuses on the very last part of the video, which is referred to as the "mute dance." Black or White and Bamboozled ask the viewer to "listen a little more closely to the rhythms and beats of musical entertainment" (378), and thus become more involved with understanding the percussive character of the form. …

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