Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor

Isaac Weiner

Second Advisor

Vincent Lloyd

Third Advisor

Molly Bassett

Fourth Advisor

Kathryn Lofton


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.


Included in

Religion Commons