Jimmie Manning

Associate Professor
Organizational / Corporate Communication
Undergraduate Director, COMM-SAC Adivsor, Lambda Pi Eta Advisor

Office: Watson Hall 207
Office Phone: 815-753-7107
Email: jman@niu.edu


Dr. Manning is known in the communication discipline for his work exploring sexuality in relationships, his blending of inerpersonal and media communication research, teaching practices that often involve community engagement and service learning, and for serving in many different leadership positions for professional academic organizations.

Research. Professor Manning uses a wide range of research methods to understand relationships. This research explores three distinct contexts: relational discourses (how relationships are constituted by communication), constitutive pragmatism (how communication facilitates organizing and understanding), and new media.

Relational discourses. This research spans interpersonal, mediated, organizational, and political communication to understand how individuals, couples, families, organizations, and other cultural institutions attempt to define, reward, control, limit, or otherwise negotiate relationships. Common research themes include sexuality, love, rituals, legitimacy, and relationship expectations. Recent projects have examined family negotiations of purity contracts, couple co-construction of relational turning points, and coming out conversations.

Constitutive pragmatism. This research examines how relationships "do" things. Common contexts of study include health communication, workplace interaction, and community organizing. In addition to developing communication theory, these studies are also often oriented toward allowing practical understandings. Recent projects in this area have examined how relationships played into rebuliding communities after Hurricane Katrina, relating in weight loss support groups, and ethical tensions involved with workplace relationships.

New media and computer-mediated communication. This research examines both how people seek understandings of relationships through media as well as how people relate online. Areas of inquiry include social media use, media representations of relationships, and understanding anxieties related to media-interpersonal convergence. Recent projects have examined rhetorical dimensions of online dating, fan discourses about romantic relationship rules, and adult use of sexting.

Dr. Manning's research has been supported by a number of funding agencies including the National Science Foundation and has resulted in over 70 publications as well as thirteen top paper awards from regional, national, or international conferences. He has been honored with the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality Early Professional Leadership Award and the Applegate Award for Excellence in Research.

Teaching. In line with his research interests, Dr. Manning has taught courses exploring relationships, computer-mediated communication, cultural studies, qualitative research methods, organizational communication, and communication theory. In addition to traditional classroom teaching, he has also arranged community-based service-learning courses that have involved ethnographic research in a variety of communities including post-Katrina Mississippi. He has received many grants to support his teaching endeavors, including awards from Learn & Serve American and the Scripps-Howard Center for Civic Engagement. His teaching has also been recognized through his being selected as the recipient of the Central States Communication Association Outstanding New Teacher Award, the OSCLG Feminist Teacher-Mentor Award, the National Communication Association Outstanding Mentor in Master's Education Award, and the Southern States Communication Association’s Outreach Award, among others.

Service. Professor Manning is a lifetime member of the National Communication Association, the Central States Communication Association (where he is also incoming Executive Director), and the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender; and a member of several other professional associations including the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (where he serves as Professional Networking Chair) and the Kentucky Communication Association (where he is President). He serves as founder and editor for the new journal Sexuality and Communication; and as an editorial board member for The Journal of Social Media in Society, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Communication Studies, Qualitative Research Reports in Communication,  and Women & Language (where he is also the Alternative Scholarship Editor). He is extensively involved with community projects, Northern Illinois University, and the communication discipline. His service work has been recognized with the Central States Communication Association Outstanding Service Award and the National Communication Association Lambda Award.

Professional Biography.  Dr. Manning's Ph.D. is in Communication Studies (Interpersonal Communication and Cultural Studies/Rhetoric). He also earned a G.C. in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (Social Control and Sexuality), and an M.A. in Communication Studies (Organizational Communication, Political Communication, and Media Studies), all from the University of Kansas; and a B.A. in English and Ethnic/Gender Studies, a B.F.A. in Dramatic Arts, and a B.S.E. in Communication and Social Sciences from Emporia State University.

Office Hours

Tuesday and Thursday, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Updated: Thursday August 21st 2:39 pm

Teaching Schedule

COMS 496A Qualitative Studies of Interpersonal Relationships

Updated: Thursday August 21st 2:39 pm

Latest Publications


Manning, J., & Kunkel, A. (2014). Researching interpersonal relationships: Qualitative methods, studies, and analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Manning, J., Dunn, J. C., & Stern, D. (Eds.). (2012). Lucky Strikes and a four martini lunch: Thinking about television’s Mad Men. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars.

Journal Articles

Manning, J. (In press). Exploring family discourses about purity pledges: Connecting relationships and popular culture. Qualitative Research Reports in Communication. doi:10.1080/17459435.2014.955597

Manning, J. (In press). Positive and negative communicative behaviors in coming out conversations. Journal of Homosexuality.

Manning, J. (2014). A constitutive approach to interpersonal communication studies. Communication Studies, 65(4), 432-440. doi:10.1080/10510974.2014.927294

Manning, J. (2014). Construction of values in online and offline dating discourses: Comparing presentational and articulated rhetorics of relationship seeking. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 19(3), 309-324. doi:10.1111/jcc4.12037

Manning, J., & Kunkel, A. (2014). Making meaning of meaning-making research: Using qualitative research for studies of social and personal relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 31(4), 433-441.

Manning, J. (2013). Interpretive theorizing in the seductive world of sexuality and interpersonal communication: Getting guerilla with studies of sexting and purity rings. International Journal of Communication, 7, 2507-2520. Retrieved from http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/2250/1023

Book Chapters

Manning, J. (In press). Families living in closets: Talking about alcoholism in and out of family households. In M. Brann (Ed.), Contemporary case studies in health communication (2nd ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

Manning, J. (In press). Ipsedixitism, ipseity, and ipsilateral identity: The fear of finding ourselves in the fissures between phishing and Catfish. In A. Herbig, A. Herrmann, & A. Tyma (Eds.), Beyond new media: Discourse and critique in a polymediated age. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Manning, J. (In press). Shedding light on the dark: Sexuality, computer-mediated communication, and “healthy” relational practices. In K. Wright, & L. M. Webb (Eds.), Computer-mediated communication in personal relationships 2.0.

Schon, J., Ristić, I., & Manning, J. (In press). Seeking health information online. Submitted to M. Brann (Ed.), Contemporary case studies in health communication (2nd ed.).

Manning, J. (2014). Coming out conversations and gay/bisexual men’s sexual health: A constitutive model study. In V. L. Harvey, & T. H. Housel (Eds.), Health care disparities and the LGBT population (pp. 27-54). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Manning, J. (2014). Communication and healthy sexual practices: Toward a holistic communicology of sexuality. In M. H. Eaves (Ed.), Applications in health communication: Emerging trends (pp. 263-286). Dubuque, IA: Kendall-Hunt.

Manning, J. (2012). Finding yourself in Mad Men. In D. Stern, J. Manning, & J. C. Dunn (Eds.), Lucky Strikes and a three martini lunch: Thinking about television’s Mad Men (pp. 89-96). Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars.