Michael Jackson & The Black Performance Archive
Duke University | Fall Semester 2014
Wednesday @ 6:15pm – 8:45pm | White Lecture Hall (107)
Duke East Campus
Mark Anthony Neal, Ph.D. | firstname.lastname@example.org | 919.684.3987
A central premise of ‘Michael Jackson and the Black Performance Archive’ is the question, “Where did Michael Jackson come from?” While there are facts—he was born on August 29, 1958 in a Rust Belt city named Gary, Indiana—what the course aims to answer are the broader questions of Jackson’s cultural, social, political and even philosophical origins.
The course posits the Black Performance tradition as a living and breathing archive that helped produce Jackson’s singular creative genius within the realms of music, movement and politics, including the influence of Black vernacular practices like signifying and sampling, the network of Black social spaces known as the Chitlin’ Circuit, the impact of Black migration patterns to urban spaces in the Midwest (like Gary, Chicago and Detroit—all critical to Jackson’s artistic development) and Black performance traditions including Blackface minstrelsy.
As such the course thinks of Jackson’s relationship to the archive in three specific ways:
1) The literal archive of Michael Jackson’s recordings and performances
2) Michael Jackson’s relationship to the archives of African American Performance and American Ephemera
3) Michael Jackson as Archive—exploring Jackson as Intellectual Property
In addition the course will examine the social constructions of Blackness and gender (Black masculinity) through the prism of Michael Jackson’s performance, highlighting his role as a trickster figure and shape-shifter within the context of African-American vernacular practices.
Read more here:
Professor Mark Anthony Neal
Sources: New Blackman Blogspot – By Mark Anthony Neal| DAAS – Duke University | All Things Michael