Today the book The Michael Jacksons by Lorena Turner hits the shelves. It is an amalgam of photography and social science research into the lives of actors and actresses who devote their lives to portraying Michael Jackson. Turner started her research on Hollywood Boulevard and then branched out into other venues where the representers perform. I listened to this interview with Turner on the podcast “New Books in American Studies.” She mentions the variety of ways in which the representers and the audiences understand Michael Jackson’s race and gender. She suggests that to many people in this world, he somehow surpassed race and gender to become “simply human.” Yet, she also recognizes that different audiences desire different eras of Michael Jackson and that those desires tend to fall according to race. One representer from Haiti was so often told that he was “too dark” that he started recording everything people say to him about race. He has over 2000 statements!
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Lauren Kientz Anderson
I am an Assistant Professor at Luther College in Decorah, IA. I graduated with a PhD from Michigan State University in 2010 and then had a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Kentucky from 2010-2012. My research and teaching interests are Black thought in the interwar era, Black Internationalism, Black Women’s History, the global anti-apartheid movement, and LGBT history. My first book, “Speaking to the World: Black American Women and Global Interracialism, 1918-1939″ argues that “interracialism” was one of the most important political theories of race relations in the interwar era. It was based on the simplistic idea that if elites interacted, systemic racism, including violence and lynching ,would end. The rare scholars who discuss interracialism suggest that it was a white-led phenomenon, but the book focuses the discussion on black women’s support for and critique of interracialism. In addition to interracialism, the work analyzes black internationalism through these same black women. I assert that when black women engaged joyfully in religion and played with their identity abroad, they defied Michael O. West’s contention that the black international was defined by struggle. The work incorporates material from over twenty archives in the United States and Europe. You can explore aspects of my argument in my article, “A Nauseating Sentiment, a Magical Device, or a Real Insight? Interracialism at Fisk University in 1930.” I also have an article about my global anti-apartheid course in the Spring 2014 issue of Radical History Review and have several articles in various stages of the publication journey. For my course syllabi, the latest information about my publications, conference papers, and links to my posts from two years as a regular contributor to the Society for US Intellectual History’s blog see my academia profile. In my free time, I paint and do a bit of creative writing while attempting to balance my aged cat and laptop.