Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



American Journal of Sociology Jul 2019, Volume 125, Issue 1, pp. 272 - 274


Published by the University of Chicago Press. Used by permission.


Japonica Brown-Saracino’s How Places Make Us is an engaging book that illustrates the centrality of cities in shaping understandings of sexuality. She analyzes the identities and lives of lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ) women in four cities: Ithaca, New York; San Luis Obispo, California; Portland, Maine; and Greenfield,Massachusetts. Despite the fact that these cities are home to a high number of female same-sex couples and are imagined as sites of acceptance for LGBTQ people, Brown-Saracino discovers, through her ethnographic fieldwork and interviews, something surprising: the LBQ women in each city offered radically different narratives about sexuality. The book is devoted to exploring the distinct “sexual identity culture” in each city and also to providing a more general analysis about how cities influence the creation of sexual identity cultures.