≡ Menu



Welcome to Michael Jackson Studies. This page was created to serve as a resource center for those interested in learning more about the creative life and work of poicon Michael Jackson. If there is a book, essay or article you feel should be added to this page, please contact me and I will gladly consider it. A few notes about the material I have included below:

1. This bibliography is not intended to be comprehensive. I only include material I am familiar with and believe might be useful for those studying and/or writing about Michael Jackson.

2. There are numerous fan websites and blogs that offer valuable information, excellent archives and interesting perspectives on Michael Jackson. Persistent researchers will no doubt discover the best of these. However, for this list I have decided to stick, as much as possible, to articles, essays and books with recognizable publishers and authors.

3. I am often asked whether I agree with or endorse every source I include on this list. The answer is “no.” These sources are intended to help serious researchers of Michael Jackson become familiar with a broad range of material, conversations and debates surrounding the artist and therefore includes a variety of perspectives.

4. Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this page in no way endorses a belief in the occult.


Moonwalk. Doubleday, 1988.

Dancing the Dream: Poems and Reflections. Doubleday, 1992.


Amisu, Elizabeth. The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Persona, and His Artistic Afterlife. Praeger, 2016.

Fast, Susan. Michael Jackson’s Dangerous (33 1/3). Bloomsbury, 2013.

George, Nelson. Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson. Da Capo Press, 2010.

Stillwater, Willa. M Poetica: Michael Jackson’s Art of Connection and DefianceKindle Edition, 2011, 2013.

Swedien, Bruce. In the Studio with Michael Jackson. Hal Leonard, 2009.

Vogel, Joseph. Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson. Sterling, 2011.

Vogel, Joseph. Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson’s Magnum Opus. BlakeVision Books, 2011.

White, ArmondKeep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles. Resistance Works, 2009.


Marsh, Dave. Trapped: Michael Jackson and the Crossover Dream. Bantam, 1985.

Jefferson, Margo. On Michael Jackson. Pantheon, 2006.

King, Jason. Michael Jackson Treasures. Becker & Mayer, 2009.

Vogel, Joseph. Featuring Michael Jackson: Collected Writings on the King of Pop. Baldwin Books, 2012.

Manning, Harriet J. Michael Jackson and the Blackface Mask. Ashgate, 2013.

Greenburg, Zack O’Malley. Michael Jackson, Inc. Atria, 2014.

Woodward, Susan. Otherness and Power: Michael Jackson and His Media Critics. Blackmore, 2014.


George, Nelson. The Michael Jackson Story. Dell, 1983.

Taraborrelli, J. Randy. Michael Jackson: The Magic, the Madness, the Whole Story, 1958-2009. Hachette, 1991, 2003, 2009.

Editors of Rolling Stone. Michael. It Books, 2009.

Jackson, Jermaine. You Are Not Alone: Michael, Through a Brother’s Eyes. Touchstone, 2011.

Cascio, Frank. My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship With an Extraordinary ManWilliam Morrow, 2011.

Sullivan, Randall. Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson. Grove Press, 2012.

Whitfield, Bill, Javon Beard and Tanner Colby. Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in his Final Days. Weinstein, 2014.

Knopper, Steve. MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson. Scribner, 2015.

PEER-REVIEWED ESSAYS (chronological)

Mercer, Kobena, “Monster Metaphors: Notes on Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’” Screen. Vol. 27.1 (1986): 26-43.

Wallace, Michelle. “Michael Jackson, Black Modernisms and the Ecstasy of Communication.” Third Text. Vol. 3.7 (1989).

Dyson, Michael Eric. “Michael Jackson’s Postmodern Spirituality.” Reflecting Black: African-American Cultural Criticism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. 35-63.

Awkward, Michael. “A Slave to the Rhythm: Essential(ist) Transmutations; or, The Curious Case of Michael Jackson.” Negotiating Difference: Race, Gender and the Politics of Positionality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Burnett, Robert and Burt Deivert. “Black or White: Michael Jackson’s Video as a Mirror of Popular Culture.” Popular Music and Society. Vol. 19.3. (1995).

Yuan, David. “The Celebrity Freak: Michael Jackson’s ‘Grotesque Glory.'”Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. Ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 368-384.

King, Jason. “Form and Function: Super Stardom and Aesthetics in the Music Videos of Michaeland Janet Jackson.” Velvet Light Trap. Vol. 44 (Fall 1999): 80-96.Martinec, Radan. “Construction of Identity in Michael Jackson’s Jam.” Social Semiotics. Vol. 10.3 (Dec. 2000):313-329.

Lynch, Christopher. “Ritual Transformation through Michael Jackson’s Music Video.” Journal of Communication Inquiry. Vol. 25.2 (April 2001): 114-131.Brooks, Jodi. “Ghosting the Machine: The Sounds of Tap and the Sounds of Film.” Screen. Vol. 44.4(Winter 2003): 355-78.

Yeoh Kah Sin, Dennis. “‘Did I Scare You?’: The Curious Case of Michael Jackson as Gothic Narrative.” Studies in Gothic Fiction. Vol. 1.1. 2009.

Fast, Susan. “Difference That Exceeded Understanding: Remembering Michael Jackson.” Popular Music and Society. Vol. 33.2 (May 2010).

Pierce, Constance. “Lacrymae Rerum: Reflections of a Visual Artist Informed and Inspired By Gestures of Transcendence in the Passionate Art of Michael Joseph Jackson.” Passions of the Skies in Fine Arts Expression. Harvard University (May 2011).

Fast, Susan. “Michael Jackson’s Queer Musical Belongings.” Popular Music & Society. Vol. 49.2 (2012): 281-300.

Martin, Sylvia J. “The Roots and Routes of Michael Jackson’s Global Identity.” Society. Vol. 49 (2012): 284-290.

King, Jason. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough: Presence, Spectacle and Good Feeling Michael Jackson’s This Is It.” Black Performance Theory. Duke University Press, 2014.

Stillwater, Willa. “Monsters, Witches, and Michael Jackson’s Ghosts.” Popular Musicology Online. December 2014.

Vogel, Joseph. “‘I Ain’t Scared of No Sheets’: Re-Screening Black Masculinity in Michael Jackson’s Black or White.” Journal of Popular Music Studies, 27.1 (March 2015).

Martin, Sylvia J. “Michael Jackson’s Gesamtkunstwerk: Artistic Interrelation, Immersion, and Interactivity From the Studio to the Stadium.”  Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, 11.5 (November 2015).

Pierce, Constance. “Ruach Hakodesh: The Epiphanic and Cosmic Nature of Imagination in the Art of Michael Jackson and His Influence on My Image-Making.” The Cosmos and the Creative Imagination, Analecta Husserliana serie, 119 (February 2016).


Ed. by Fast, Susan and Stan Hawkins. Special Issue: Michael Jackson: Musical Subjectivities. Popular Music and Society. Vol. 35, no. 2. May 2012.

Ed. by Roberts, Tamara and Brandi Wilkins Catanese. Michael Jackson In/As U.S. Popular Culture. Journal of Popular Music Studies. Vol. 23, no. 1. March 2011

Ed. by Zulu, Itibari M. MJ: The Man in the Mirror Analyzed. Journal of Pan African Studies. Vol. 3, no. 7. March 2010.


Ed. by Fisher, Mark. The Resistable Demise of Michael Jackson. Zero Books, 2009.

Ed. by Christopher R. Smit. Michael Jackson: Grasping the Spectacle. Ashgate Publishing, 2012.


Michael Jackson: Critical Reflection On a Life & Phenomenon. University of California, Berkeley. 1 October 2009.

After the Dance: Conversations on Michael Jackson’s Black America. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. 4-5 June 2010

Genius Without Borders: A Symposium in Honor of the Genius of Michael Jackson. Columbia College Chicago. 24 September 2010.

The Cultural Phenomenon of Michael Jackson. Society of Cinema and Media Studies. 12 March 2011.

Michael Jackson and the Black Performance Tradition. Duke University. Dr. Mark Anthony Neal. Fall 2012.

Michael Jackson: Reading the King of Pop as a Cultural Text. Merrimack College. Dr Marie Plasse. Fall 2014.


Markowitz, Robin. “Ain’t Nobody’s Business: The Public Text of Michael Jackson.” City University of New York, 1992.

Tenenbaum, Sara. “I Know I Am Someone: Michael Jackson, Thriller, and American Identity.” George Washington University, 2011.


Amisu, Elizabeth. “Throwing Stones To Hide Your Hands: The Mortal Persona of Michael Jackson.” elizabethamisu.com. 11 June 2014. 

Campbell, Mel. “Saying the Unsayable: The Non-Verbal Vocalizations of Michael Jackson.” The Enthusiast. 2 July 2009.

King, Jason. “An Appreciation of His Talent.” Passed the Curve. 27 June 2009.

Kohler, Chris. “The Remix Manifesto: Thoughts on the Value of Remixes.” joevogel.net. 13 June 2014

Martin, Sylvia J. “Remembering Michael Jackson: Moonwalking Between Contradictions.” Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s Norman Lear Center. University of Southern California. 24 June 2010.

Neal, Mark Anthony. “Sampling Michael: Rhythm, Masculinity and Intellectual Property in the ‘Body’ of Michael Jackson.” NewBlackMan. 28 August 2012.

Okri, Ben. “A Meteor Streaks Our Collective Consciousness.” The Times. 27 June 2009.

Stevens, Hampton. “Michael Jackson’s Unparalleled Influence.” The Atlantic. 24 June 2010.

Stillwater, Willa “Rereading Michael Jackson.” MJFC. 2011.Sullivan, John Jeremiah. “Back in the Day.” GQ. September 2009.

Tate, Greg. “The Man in Our Mirror.” Village Voice. 1 July 2009.

Vogel, Joseph. “The Misunderstood Power of Michael Jackson’s Music.” The Atlantic. February 8, 2012.

White, Armond. “In MJ’s Shadow.” New York Press. 30 June 2009.

Zohny, Josephine. “In Defense of Michael.” Pop Matters. 9 February 2005.Dr. Cornell West and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. The Tavis Smiley Show. PBS. 30 June 2009.


Block, Susan. “Sex, Death and Michael Jackson.” Counterpunch. August 2, 2009.

Fisher, Mary. “Was Michael Jackson Framed?GQ. October 1994.

Kaufmann, Barbara. “Michael Jackson on Trial Again.” The Huffington Post. November 17, 2011.

Reed, Ishmael. “The Persecution of Michael Jackson.” Counter Currents. June 29, 2009.

Reed, Pamela. “Michael Jackson and the Toxicity of American Culture.” The Grio. July 7, 2009.

Semino, Matt. “Michael Jackson, The Wounded Messenger.” The Examiner. November 29, 2010.

Taibbi, Matt. “Inside the Strangest Show on Earth.” Smells Like Dead Elephants. Grove Press, 2007.

Thompson, Charles. “One of the Most Shameful Episodes in Journalistic History.” The Huffington Post. June 13, 2010.

Vogel, Joe. “Am I the Beast You Visualized?: The Cultural Abuse of Michael Jackson.” The Huffington Post. November 2, 2011


Constance Pierce. “The Dance: Epiphany and Loss” water color series. The Fifth Art on Paper 2011. Museum of Art: Aichi, Japan. (Click here for the YouTube link)

Constance Pierce. “Will You Be There” Series. The Fourth Art on Paper 2010. Museum of Art: Aichi, Japan.


Boteach, Shmuley. The Michael Jackson Tapes. Vanguard Press, 2011.

Bush, Michael. The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson. Insight Editions, 2012.

Cadman, Chris and Craig Halstead. Michael Jackson: For the Record, 2nd Edition. Authors Online, 2009.

Fischer, Mary. Was Michael Jackson Framed? CreateSpace, 2012.

Grant, Adrian. Michael Jackson: A Visual Documentary. Omnibus, 2009.

Gray, Todd. Michael Jackson: Before He Was King. Chronicle Books, 2009.

Jones, Aphrodite. Michael Jackson Conspiracy. iUniverse, 2007.

Kirkland, Douglas. Michael Jackson: The Making of ‘Thriller’: 4 Days/1983. Filipacchi Publishing, 2010.


Dancing With the Elephant: Conversations About Michael Jackson, His Art, and Social Change. Dr. Willa Stillwater and Joie Collins.

The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies. Elizabeth Amisu and Karin Merx.