How do you think of Michael Jackson? Brilliant entertainer? Tragic weirdo celebrity? Whether you’re a huge MJ fan, or you’re just curious to learn more about the late “King of Pop”, this course is for you! We’ll study his recordings and music videos, have lively discussions, take a few field trips, and do some fun hands-on activities. We’ll learn how to “read” lyrics, music, and film to uncover narratives involving issues such as race, gender, and class in Jackson’s work, and in pop music more broadly. Learning to listen to, watch, and think critically about Jackson’s work can serve as a springboard to more critical analysis of other musical performers or styles, so this course is not only a case study on a specific artist, but an introduction to a more in-depth mode of listening and analysis. Field trips will include a day in Hollywood to visit Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and exhibits at several Hollywood museums, and a trip to Westlake Recording Studios, where Jackson recorded his seminal “Bad” album. We’ll also have some fun learning the “Thriller” dance, and we may even learn to sing/play some MJ songs!