I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Drexel University. I completed my PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. I also previously co-founded Qualitative Health Research Consultants, LLC.
I'm an urban ethnographer of sexuality, especially queer enclaves and communities, focused on advancing theory on carnal sociology, through the study of how race, health, the body, and pleasure influence our perceptions of space and place.
Recent research projects include:
1) “Of Blood: The Social Experience of Heritage”: In a book under contract with U Chicago Press, along with co-authors Michael M. Bell and Loka Ashwood, we present the concept of heritas, the naturalized experience of descent, that connects across experiences of group, heritage, and descent commonly studied separately. With chapters on race, class, family, place, gender, sexuality, religion, profession, and politics, we offer heritas as a theory of similar naturalization and historicization across the human experience.
2) Urban Space and PrEP: These interviews with queer men on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV) explore how urban space influences the experience of PrEP for different classes and races of queer men; A paper is forthcoming in Surveillance and Society.
3) The Philadelphia LGBTQ Community and Business Historical Database: Spatial analysis of Philadelphia's LGBTQ commercial spaces from 1945 to 2015 through a unique dataset I created from archival research at the William Way LGBTQ Center and donations from historian Marc Stein;
4) “Queer Spirits: Memory, Alcohol, and the Haunting Future of Queer Nightlife”: In this ethnographic book project, I examine the pleasures, embodiment, spirit, and spatiality of consumption, through fieldwork, interviews, and archival history of a single long-standing queer establishment, I examine how non-human objects, memory, substance use, and embodiment shape our perceptions of “ghosts,” prior imaginings that shape a place’s character.
My most recent book, Boystown: Sex and Community in Chicago, is published with University of Chicago Press. You can find reviews in academic venues such as American Journal of Sociology, City and Community, Men and Masculinities, Sexualities, and Symbolic Interaction. Eater Magazine produced an award-winning documentary inspired by the book, which includes an interview with me. The book received the Honorable Mention for the 2019 Book Award of the Sexualities section of the ASA.
““This is a book about sex” (p. 9). And whew! In Boystown, Jason Orne delivers on this statement.” — Men and Masculinities
“Boystown is a dark, sexy, and honest account, as well as a piece of strong research…The work is a rallying cry to bring sexual context to the social sciences…Boystown is a welcome addition to the literature on gay spaces and is likely to inspire ethnographers to break new ground.” — City and Community
Based on three years of ethnography in Chicago’s gay neighborhood, Boystown examines the importance of sex to queer communities. Boystown is trading its radical sexual culture for normality, transforming into a “gay disneyland” through heritage commodification by business owners. The “sexy communities” that embody radical sexuality foster racial diversity by building sexual kinship through ritual moments of collective effervescence, what I call "naked intimacy." Boystown is about the power of sex to connect across racial boundaries, the commodification of gay male culture, and the "intersectional knot" that supports respectability. I wrote Boystown in a creative nonfiction style that allows sociologists, their students, and lay readers to learn from Boystown’s queer lessons.
I am also lead author on a co-authored textbook on qualitative methods, Invitation to Qualitative Fieldwork: A Multilogical Approach, published with Routledge. We focus on the interacting logics within projects: the voice of participants, the voice of the academic community, and the researcher’s voice.
I use these exercises and frameworks to collaborate on a variety of qualitative components of research projects. I've collaborated on NIH-funded clinical trials, research scientist improvement awards, demonstration grants, and pilot studies.
You can find more information about my various projects and publications in my CV below.