Whitney Phillips to lecture on “The Oxygen of Amplification: Folklore, Journalism, and Far-Right Trolls”

Monday, April 22, 2019. Morrison Gallery, Reception: 5:00 p.m., Lecture: 5:30 p.m. Go to our Facebook page to let us know your’re coming!

Whitney Phillips will provide a historical overview of the relationship between the news media and far-right manipulators who leveraged “trolling” and ”meme culture” during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. She will discuss the consequences of reporting on bigoted, damaging, or otherwise problematic information and the structural limitations of journalism (economic, labor, and cultural) that exacerbate these tensions.

Phillips is assistant professor of communication and rhetorical studies at Syracuse University. She teaches classes in media literacy and online ethics; online discourse and controversy; folklore and digital culture; and lore surrounding monster narratives, urban legends, hoaxes, and crime. 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). Phillips has published dozens of popular press pieces on digital culture and ethics in outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Slate.

This event was jointly organized by the American studies program, the Pennsylvania Center for Folklore, and the School of Humanities at Penn State Harrisburg.

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