Together for Good
Skip to main content area Skip to main navigation Skip to institutional navigation Skip to footer


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
  • The Eighties: Literature, Film, and Culture in the Blockbuster Era
  • Science Fiction Cinema
  • Green Screen: Environmental Film


Dr. Vogel specializes in contemporary American literature, film studies, popular music, popular culture, environmental studies, and the 1980s. He is the author of Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson (Sterling, 2011), Witnessing the Reagan Era: James Baldwin and the 1980s (University of Illinois Press, 2018), and the forthcoming book, This Thing Called Life: Prince and the Crossover Revolution (Bloomsbury Academic). His work has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including the James Baldwin Review, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Review, The Journal of Popular Culture, the Journal of American Culture, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies. His articles have also been featured in The Atlantic, Slate, The Huffington Post, and PopMatters. He holds a PhD from the University of Rochester.

Dr. Vogel’s book on the creative work of Michael Jackson — 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, he 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


  • This Thing Called Life: Prince and the Crossover Revolution. Bloomsbury Academic. Forthcoming.
  • James Baldwin and the 1980s: Witnessing the Reagan Era. University of Illinois Press, 2018.
  • Man in the Music: The Creative Life & Work of Michael Jackson. Sterling, 2011.


  • “Whitewashing Slave Rebellion: The Confessions of Quentin Tarantino.” Forthcoming in the Journal of American Culture.
  • “To Crush the Serpent”: James Baldwin, the Religious Right, and the Moral Minority.” James Baldwin Review, 2 (December 2016).
  • “‘Civilization’s Going to Pieces’: The Great Gatsby, Identity, and Race, From the Jazz Age to the Obama Era.” 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).


  • “James Baldwin’s Decline of Reputation in the 1980s.” Forthcoming in James Baldwin in Context, ed. D. Quentin Miller (Cambridge University Press).
  • “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).




208D Sullivan Hall

Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 3:30pm - 5:00pm