Faculty Experts

Whitney Phillips

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies
Whitney Phillips researches and teaches class on media literacy, mis-and disinformation, political communication, and digital ethics, including journalistic ethics and the ethics of everyday social media use. She’s also interested in folklore online and off, particularly collective storytelling and the rhetoric of ghost, monster, and crime lore.

Phillips’ research explores antagonism and identity-based harassment online; the relationship between vernacular expression, state and corporate influences, and emerging technologies; political memes and other forms of ambivalent civic participation; and digital ethics, including journalistic ethics and the ethics of everyday social media use.

She is the author of This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture (MIT, 2015) and the co-author of The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online with Ryan M. Milner of the College of Charleston (Polity, 2017). She is also the author of the three-part ethnographic report The Oxygen of Amplification: Better Practices for Reporting on Extremists, Antagonists, and Manipulators Online (Data & Society Media Manipulation Initiative, 2018). She has written numerous articles and book chapters on a range of media, folklore, and digital culture topics, most recently “fake news” narratives, technological play with the afterlife, and the role social and mimetic media played during and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Phillips holds a Ph.D. in English with a folklore-structured emphasis (digital culture focus) from the University of Oregon (2012); an M.F.A. in creative writing (fiction) from Emerson College (2007); and a B.A. in philosophy from Humboldt State University (2004).