≡ Menu


JOSEPH VOGEL is an Assistant Professor of English and co-director of Film Studies at Merrimack College. His research and teaching interests include 20th century American literature, film, popular music, popular culture, environmental studies, and the 1980s. He is the author of Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson (Sterling, 2011) and two forthcoming books: James Baldwin and the 1980s: Witnessing the Reagan Era (University of Illinois Press) and This Thing Called Life: Prince’s Creative Revolution (Bloomsbury Academic). His work has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including the James Baldwin Review, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Review, The Journal of Popular Culture, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies. His articles have also been featured in The Atlantic, Slate, The Huffington Post, and PopMatters. He holds a PhD from the University of Rochester.

Vogel’s groundbreaking book on the creative work of Michael Jackson — Man in the Music has been praised by Rolling Stone, the Associated Press, and Library Journal and used as a course text at several colleges and universities. Filmmaker Spike Lee characterized the book as having “brilliantly cracked the DNA, the code, the artistry of Michael Joseph Jackson.” Vogel has interviewed many of Jackson’s closest collaborators and been consulted and referenced by media around the world, including Billboard, Rolling Stone, the Associated Press, ABC NewsUSA Today, NPRForbes, NewsweekSalon, Slate, The Huffington PostSpin, AOL Music, Entertainment Weekly, Yahoo!, The Root, and The Michael Eric Dyson Show. 

In 2012, Vogel worked as a consultant for and was featured in Spike Lee’s critically-acclaimed documentary, Bad 25. In 2014, he wrote the liner notes for the best-selling posthumous Michael Jackson album, Xscape (Epic Records) and contributed the entry for Thriller (1982) to the National Recording Registry for the Library of Congress. He has presented at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and guest-lectured at universities, libraries and conferences across the country. In 2016, he won the Russel B. Nye Award for Best Article Published in the Journal of Popular Culture for his essay, “Freaks in the Reagan Era.” 



  • 20th and 21st-century American Literature and Culture; Film; Popular Music; Race, Gender and Sexuality; Environmental Studies; the 1980s


  • Ph.D., University of Rochester
  • M.A., University of Rochester
  • B.S., Utah Valley University

Visit my Academia.edu profile here.



Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message

Or at: vogeljo at gmail dot com