The Nancy Baym Book Award for 2016 is presented to Whitney Phillips for This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture (MIT Press) (2015). The committee, which included Nancy Baym, Tama Leaver, and Stephanie Schulte, found Whitney’s historical perspective on trolling useful and important when put in the contemporary context of Fox News and Gamergate. The book delves deeply into the phenomenon of Internet trolls and trolling, arguing that there is not just an individual problem but a larger culture problem that gives rise to trolling. The committee found Phillips’ book to be the right balance between accessibility and scholarly depth – suitable for both academic and mainstream reading.
Dr. Whitney Phillips, Assistant Professor of Literary Studies and Writing at Mercer University, holds a PhD in English with a Folklore structured emphasis (digital culture focus) from the University of Oregon, and an MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) from Emerson College.