June 23, 2010
Pop star Michael Jackson, who died one year
ago this week, not only changed music and pop culture, but he
also impacted engineering, law, medicine, psychology and other
academic fields, according to a Texas Tech University pop culture
Michael Jackson receiving his PhD.
Few people remember that he was Dr. Jackson, having received
this Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Fisk University.
Rob Weiner, a pop-culture author and associate librarian in
the Texas Tech Libraries, recently helped compile a bibliographic
guide for a special issue of The Journal of Pan African Studies
showing Jacksons influence into the often dusty halls
of academia. The list of scholarly papers and peer-reviewed
articles, culled from more than 100 databases, found the King
of Pop referenced in psychology, medical, chemistry, mass communications
and even engineering journals.
For instance, researchers used Jackson to critique the medias
handling of criminal cases. A 911 call made by Jackson prompted
an article in Fire Engineering journal, while a British Medical
Journal piece written after Jacksons death discussed ethical
issues that arise when a patient is more powerful than the attending
One chemistry professor argued that reframing popular songs
such as Billie Jean could help students understand
difficult chemistry concepts.
I knew that Jackson permeated pop culture, but academics
can be kind of snooty about what they choose to study,
Weiner said. The fact that someone would take a Michael
Jackson song and co-opt it as a means to convey chemistry concepts
just shows the pervasiveness of Jacksons influence.
Back to Michael Jackson´s