Carrie Ann JohnsonAug 17, 2023
A Discussion with Carrie Ann Johnson
New Books Network 2023
What is a Whisper Network? What can you gain from being in one, and what is expected of the network members? Not everybody is invited is into a Whisper Network—which is part of how they keep members safe. But it’s also how many of the vulnerable are further left out. Today, Dr. Carrie Ann Johnson joins us to share her research on Whisper Networks, and their role in bridging the safety gap for vulnerable people. This episode explores:
- Why formal reporting systems fail.
- How whisper networks can offer safeguards.
- Why some people who need to be in a whisper network aren’t in one.
- Who gets left out, and why.
- A discussion of the article “Whisper Networks Thrive When Women Lose Faith in Formal Systems of Reporting Sexual Harassment,” which you can access here.
CW: Examples of harassment (including sexual harassment) are included throughout this episode.
Our guest is: Dr. Carrie Ann Johnson, who earned a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Professional communication from Iowa State University and received the Iowa State Research Excellence Award for her dissertation, "Whisper Networks: Sexual Harassment Protection Through Informal Networks." She earned a master’s degree in American Studies and a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations, both from Utah State University. She loves digging into difficult topics and opening doors for deeper contemplation about our lived realities. She is the Research and Outreach Coordinator for the Catt Center for Women in Politics, Iowa State University, and is on the editorial board of BONDS, where you can read more her work on whisper networks in organizations.
Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, who holds a PhD in history. She is a freelance book editor. She has served as content director and producer of the Academic Life podcast since she launched it in 2020. The Academic Life is proud to be an academic partner of the New Books Network.
Listeners to this episode may also be interested in:
- This conversation on Who Gets Believed
- This conversation with Rebekah Tausig on Sitting Pretty
- This conversation on feminist communication strategies
- This conversation on Black Boy Out of Time
- This conversation with Virgie Tovar on The Right to Remain Fat
- This conversation with Jessica McCrory Calarco on The Field Guide to Grad School
- This conversation on structural inequality and barriers to tenure for women of color
- This conversation about quitting a PhD program
- This conversation on community-building and How We Show Up
Welcome to the Academic Life! Join us here each week to learn from experts inside and outside the academy, and around the world, and embrace the broad definition of what it truly means to live an academic life. Missed any of the 150+ Academic Life episodes? You can find them all archived here. And check back soon: we’re in the studio preparing more episodes for your academic journey—and beyond!