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Joseph Vogel, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor



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


  • Introduction to College Writing
  • Introduction to Literary Studies
  • History of Film
  • Literature and Film
  • Contemporary American Literature
  • Green Screen: Environmental Film


Vogel specializes in post-1945 American literature, film, popular music, popular culture, identity and environmental studies. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book “Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson” (Sterling, 2011) and the forthcoming monograph “Witnessing the Reagan Era: James Baldwin and the 1980s.”

His work has appeared in the F. Scott Fitzgerald Review, The Journal of Popular Culture, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, The Atlantic, Slate, The Huffington Post, PopMatters and Scribner’s Dictionary of American History. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester.

“Man in the Music” has been translated into four languages and used as a course text at several colleges and universities. Vogel has been interviewed by media around the world and featured in numerous documentary films.

In 2012, he worked as a consultant for (and was featured in) Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed film “Bad 25.” He also appeared in Lee’s 2016 documentary “Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off the Wall.”

In 2014, Vogel 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.

In 2016, he won the Russel B. Nye Award for Best Article Published in the Journal of Popular Culture from the Journal of Popular Culture and the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association for his essay “Freaks in the Reagan Era.”

Selected Publications

  • Man in the Music: The Creative Life & Work of Michael Jackson. New York: Sterling, 2011.
  • “‘Civilization’s Going to Pieces’: The Great Gatsby, Identity, and Race, From the Jazz Age to the Obama Era.” F. Scott Fitzgerald Review, 13.1 (December 2015).
  • “Freaks in the Reagan Era: James Baldwin, the New Pop Cinema, and the American Ideal of Manhood.” The Journal of Popular Culture, 48.3 (June 2015).
  • “‘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).
  • “Bruce Springsteen,” in The American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress and Poverty, ed. Robert Rycroft. New York. Greenwood, 2016.
  • “Michael Jackson,” in America in the World, 1776 to the Present, ed. Edward J. Blum. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 2016.
  • Thriller (1982) by Michael Jackson,” in the National Recording Registry (Library of Congress, September 2014).




208M Sullivan Hall