Abstract: January 2016 discusses the cover-reveal of ‘The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Persona, and His Artistic Afterlife‘ by Elizabeth Amisu.
Column by Elizabeth Amisu, MA, PGCE, editor of The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies and author of The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Persona, and His Artistic Afterlife.
Amisu, Elizabeth. “MJ Studies Today I (14-01-16).” The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies 2, no. 1 (2016). Published electronically 14/01/16. http://michaeljacksonstudies.org/mj-studies-today-i-14-01-16/.
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MJ Studies Today I (14-01-16)
By Elizabeth Amisu
After doing my MJ Academic series, this is my first MJ Studies Today column ever, so it’s pretty exciting to be a columnist for the first time in my career. This week I’ll be writing about:
- The reveal of the cover for my academic book, The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Persona, and His Artistic Afterlife.
- The theme for The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies for 2016.
- Eric Dyson’s article on MJ and Postmodern Spirituality in Reflecting Black: African-American Cultural Criticism, 35-63.
- The latest episode of my podcast, Michael Jackson’s Dream Lives On: An Academic Conversation
So the cover is here. It was mentioned on MJVibe today, thank-you all so much for your support. It was based on an ink-drawing, inspired by this famous portrait of William Shakespeare by Nicholas Droeshout in the First Folio. We chose this image because we were looking for a very respectful, dignified image of Michael Jackson because the book presents Jackson very much as an artist and someone to be celebrated and respected. It is a joyful exploration into his creative genius and his artistic influence. It is also about the longevity of his artistic career.
The theme for the MJAS this year is ‘7: Going Beyond Biography’. You might be wondering why we have themes in the first place. Well, we have themes to try and give ourselves a sense of cohesion in the things we post. This year’s theme is the number ‘7’ because this year marks seven years since Jackson passed away, also ‘7’ is the number of perfection and also Jackson’s favourite. You can see 7 showcased many times in Jackson’s work, in the Scream short film (dir. Mark Romanek, 1995) and the teaser for the HIStory album. Also, 7 is a celebratory number – it’s a number of completion, achievement and accomplishment. For us this year, with the publication of The Dangerous Philosophies, it’s a real culmination in all the academic writing that has been written on Jackson so far. So it’s a really beautiful number and year for the advancement of Michael Jackson as an artist, a cultural figure, and an inspiration.
The subtitle is ‘Going Beyond Biography’. We’ve had a lot of biographies of Michael Jackson and because the public is very hungry for the story of a famous life biographies have outshone Jackson’s work and creativity. This is a year of really going beyond that. Joseph Vogel’s book, Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson was number 1 on Amazon this week and books like Dr. Susan Fast’s Dangerous have pushed us far deeper into something more significant, more resonant, more powerful, impacting and engaging. Biographies are fun to read but what we really want to do is get to the heart of the matter and the matter is the art, and that’s where we want to stay because in the discussion of the art we illuminate the artist and further our understanding of ourselves.
The Article of the Week is:
Michael Eric Dyson’s ‘Michael Jackson’s Postmodern Spirituality’ in the collection, Reflecting Black: African-American Cultural Criticism, 35-63. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.
This is an engaging article that Dyson wrote in the early nineties and it was sort of lost in a collection of essays, which is astonishing because it’s one those articles that I read recently and it really blew me away. If you want to write about Jackson, spiritualism, Afrocentricity, that is a key article to cite and use. It really hits home the point that Jackson had an inherent spirituality that he was quite happy to communicate to audiences all the time. Dyson explains how that may have become problematic for some people at the time.
We released a new podcast last week on the MJAS: It’s called ‘2015 Recap: Past, Present and Future‘ and in it we discuss, we discuss, how the MJAS got started, how you can join us…, the key academic articles and books of 2015 in MJ Studies, the first Academic Companion to Michael Jackson Studies and all our exciting plans for the new year. Excitingly for me, this podcast also has by first interview about my book, The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Persona, and His Artistic Afterlife.
Over the next few months I will be releasing lots more new information, so subscribe to keep in touch.
3 Things I’m Grateful For This Week
- The lovely people who organise Kingvention and run MJVibe.
- Really grateful for the music and artistry of the late great David Bowie. One of the chapters in my book contrasts Bowie and Jackson, and he is such a revelation and blessed us all with his talent.
- Endnote Software. It’s fantastic. If you are an academic of any kind or a researcher in anything then Endnote is a must-have. Endnote will save you so much time, it’s worth every penny.
Until next month,
Elizabeth Amisu, author of The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Persona, and His Artistic Afterlife, holds an MA in Early Modern English Literature from King’s College London. She is co-founder and editor of The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies online. For The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies she has edited two publications, An Academic Companion to Michael Jackson Studies and Michael Jackson’s Dream Lives On: An Academic Conversation – Michael Jackson & Prince; written several articles and book reviews, most notably ”Throwing Stones To Hide Your Hands’: The Mortal Persona Of Michael Jackson‘, which has been translated intoSpanish and Italian; ”The Isle is Full of Noises’: Revisiting the Peter Pan of Pop‘, available in German; ”Crack Music’: Michael Jackson’s Invincible‘, also in Italian; and ”Heard it Through the Grapevine’: Are We Losing Michael Jackson All Over Again?‘, also available in Spanish. Find out more at elizabethamisu.com.
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