Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Before his death, Michael Jackson arguably was one of the most famous living celebrities to walk the planet. Onstage, on air, and onscreen, he captivated the attention of millions of people around the world, whether because they loved him or loved to hate him. In an attempt to explain his popularity and cultural influence, I analyze certain theoretical and methodological approaches found in recent scholarship on western hagiographic and teratological texts, and apply these theories and methods to selected biographies written on Michael Jackson. By interpreting the biographies in this way, I suggest why saints, monsters, and celebrities have received considerable attention in their respective communities, and demonstrate how public responses to these figures are contextual, constructed, and often contradictory.
O'Riley, Kelly M., "Hagiography, Teratology, and the "History" of Michael Jackson" (2011). Religious Studies Theses. Paper 33.