I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Drexel University. I was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Dept. of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and 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 communities, focused on issues of race, health, the body, and pleasure.
My latest research projects examine these topics through: 1) Interviews with queer men on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV), exploring how urban space influences the experience of PrEP differently for white and Black queer men; 2) analysis of Philadelphia's LGBTQ commercial spaces from 1945 to 2015 through a unique dataset; and 3) examining the pleasures, embodiment, and spatiality of consumption, through cases of experiences of inebriation in queer nightlife.
My book, Boystown: Sex and Community in Chicago, is published with University of Chicago Press. 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, An Invitation to Qualitative Fieldwork, published with Routledge. Unlike many qualitative methods books, we bridge the “how-to” and “why-to” with exercises to actually show how to create key documents like interview guides and practice skills like participant observation. 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.
As scholar of identity management, my theory of strategic outness--the continual contextual management of queer identity--is a sociological alternative to developmental coming out theories. The latest articulations can be found in Sexualities and The Sociological Quarterly.