The development and meaning of agriculture in late-19th century California
California and the Fictions of Capital
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George L. Henderson
In part a tour of California as a virtual laboratory for refining the circulation of capital, and in part an investigation of how the state's literati, with rare exception, reconceived economy in the name of class, gender, and racial privilege, this study will appeal to all students and scholars of California'sand the American West'seconomic, environmental, and cultural past.
"George L. Henderson harnesses two subjects that would pull an ordinary book apart. On the one hand, California and the Fictions of Capital is a work of criticism with its purpose fixed on a number of pastoral novels set in California...On the other hand, it is a work of geography and economic theory, asserting that the circulation of capital through agriculture is the best way to understand the rise of a modern industrial countryside in California...the two work together to form a convincing picture of place...Henderson reads with an eye as sharp as any I have seen."
"It is the best historical geography of regional agricultural development available... It finally fulfills the promise of putting theories of space and spatiality at the center of literary criticism, adding a new level of sophistication to the burgeoning cultural studies interest in the relationship between space and representation. And it makes a vitally important contribution to California Studies by providing a means to understand the complex relationship between 'race,' general regional culture, and political economy. On top of that, Henderson writes with admirable clarity and a great deal of panache."
Introduction: The Alchemy of Capital and Nature
Part I: Making Geographies
1. Rural Commodity Ragtimes: A Primer
2. Nature and Fictitious Capital: The Circulation of Money Capital
3. Toward Rural Realism: Variable Capital, Variable Capitalists, and the Fictions of Capital
Part II: Excavating Geographical Imaginations
4. Mussel Slough and the Contradictions of Squatter Capitalism
5. Reality Redux: Landscapes of Boom and Bust in Southern California
6. Romancing the Sand: Earth-Capital and Desire in the Imperial Valley
7. Take Me to the River: Water, Metropolitan Growth, and the Countryside
George L. Henderson is Professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota.
In the series
Place, Culture, and Politics, edited by Neil Smith.
Place, Culture, and Politics is edited by Neil Smith, Graduate Center, City University of New York. Many of the most pressing political issues today are widely understood to occupy the nexus between place, culture and politics. Books in this series will make clear the pivotal role of space and place in questions of politics and culture. The series is interdisciplinary, ranging freely between the social sciences and humanities and, to a lesser extent, the physical and life sciences. The primary aim of these texts will be to influence public opinion more than to increase the purely academic stock of knowledge. Books will be explicitly political; they will have a point of view, multiple points of view, and will engage current events and ideas.