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Kenneth Hanson

Kenneth Hanson profile picture
  • Title: PhD Candidate
  • Office: 621 Plc
  • Office Hours: Spring 2022: By appointment only
  • Interests: sexualities, men and masculinities, social psychology, new media, teaching sociology
  • Website: Website
  • Twitter: Twitter
  • Curriculum Vitae


Kenneth R. Hanson is a doctoral candidate at the University of Oregon. His research focuses on collective sexual practices with emerging technology and new media. He has taught courses on social-psychology (SOC 328 Self & Society), culture, technology and new media (SOC 317 Sociology of Mass Media). and the sociology of sexualities (SOC 457 Sex & Society).

His dissertation, The Silicone Self: An Ethnography of the Love and Sex Doll Community, is a digital ethnography funded by internal grants and awards from The University of Oregon Department of Sociology. In it, Ken explores a subcultural community that has arisen as a result of heterosexual men, women, and LGBTQ+ people purchasing love and sex dolls to either permanently act as relationship partners, or augment their existing sexual relationships. Ken's dissertation not only explores the material and ideological history of love and sex dolls, but is a leading empirical study on this niche community. This study examines questions regarding identity, gender, sexuality, and inquality and draws from symbolic interactionism, queer theory, and digital ethnographic work. This first article from his dissertation has been published in Symbolic Interaction.

Prior to his studies at the University of Oregon, Ken received his M.A. in sociology from Kent State University where he studied heterosexual dating app users. This research was his first empirical foray into sociology.  In an article published in Sexuality & Culture, Ken examined how heterosexual dating app users navigated ambiguous online interactions as they became proficient dating app users. Another article from this study, published in Sociological Inquiry, examined how racial and gender inequalities present in hookup culture are collectively reproduced within the interactional norms of heterosexual dating app users peer groups. 

Ken's research on dating apps has piqued the attention of journalists. He has been interviewed for features in The Burr Magazine and The Baltimore Watchdog and he has written for The Future of Sex.

In addition to his academic writing on sexuality and technology, Ken has reviewed books for the journals Gender & Society and Men & Masculinities, contributed to the American Sociological Association's TRAILS library, and Contexts.

Ken received his B.A. from Seattle University, where he majored in sociology, minored in women and gender studies, and graduated magna cum laude in 2015.