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's--and the American West's--economic, environmental, and cultural past. Author note: George L. Henderson is Professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota.
George L. Henderson is Professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota.
Introduction: The Alchemy of Capital and NatureWhy the Late Nineteenth-Century Countryside?The Discourse of Rural RealismWhy Rural Realism, Why the Novel?Stalking the Interdisciplinary WildsReference MapsPart I: Making Geographies1. Rural Commodity Ragtimes: A PrimerThe Logics and Illogics of Production: The Shift to and out of GrainThe Regime of Specialty CropsA Wider Division of Labor: The Country in the City2. Nature and Fictitious Capital: The Circulation of Money CapitalCapitalism and Nature: The Agrarian NexusAxis One: The Mann-Dickinson Thesis, Nature as ObstacleAxis Two: Exploiting the Natural ObstacleKeeping Capitalism Out or Letting Capital In? Marx on CirculationBlurred Boundaries and Fugitive BodiesNature and CirculationCapital, Nature, and the Space-Time of Agro-Credits in the United StatesCapital, Nature, and the Space-Time of Agro-Credits in CaliforniaConclusion: Reading the Landscape of Fictitious Capital3. Toward Rural Realism: Variable Capital, Variable Capitalists, and the Fictions of CapitalThe Way to Get Farm Labor?The Ever-New, Ever-Same, 1: Continuity of Wage Labor and Changes in the Wage Labor MarketThe Ever-New, Ever-Same, 2: Resistance and ReactionRacializing the Working Body and Multicultural RacismToward Rural Realism: An Agrarianism without Illusions?Variable Capitalists All: Capitalist Laborers and the Fictions of Capital in Country and CityCoda: The Labor of FictionPart II: Excavating Geographical ImaginationsIntroductionMany CountrysidesThe Trials of Capital and Narratives of Social SpaceThe Narrative of Social Space in Rural Realism4. Mussel Slough and the Contradictions of Squatter CapitalismThe Commodification of Mussel Slough: Railroad, Speculators, and Squatters Converge in the Tulare BasinBlood Money and the Anatomy of DevelopmentThe Country and the City: From Transgression to SimilitudeThe Octopus and the Bourgeois SublimeBourgeois Discourse and the Uses of Nature5. Reality Redux: Landscapes of Boom and Bust in Southern CaliforniaWhere Is Southern California?From Ranchos to Real EstateThe Boom of the 1880sThe Southern California Boom NovelConclusion: Production, a Necessary Evil6. Romancing the Sand: Earth-Capital and Desire in the Imperial ValleyThe ProblemEngineers and EntrepreneursProducing the Imperial ValleyWhat a Difference a Flood MakesImperial Valley Representations, 1: Promotion and Its (Dis)ContentsImperial Valley Representations, 2: The Winning of Barbara Worth and the Erotics of Western ConquestConclusion: Engineering Rural Realism7. Take Me to the River: Water, Metropolitan Growth, and the CountrysideDesigner DuctsLos Angeles and the Owens ValleySan Francisco and Hetch Hetchy ValleyRural Eclipse: The Water-Bearer and The FordWither Rural Realism?ConclusionNotesReferencesIndex