Land of Sunshine


Land of Sunshine

Race, Gender, and Regional Development in a California Periodical

Sigrid Anderson

206 pages
22 photographs, 14 illustrations, index


July 2024


$60.00 Pre-order

About the Book

Although denied the right to vote, late nineteenth-century women writers engaged in debates over land settlement and expansion through literary texts in regional periodicals. In “Land of Sunshine”: Race, Gender, and Regional Development in a California Periodical, Sigrid Anderson uncovers the political fictions of writers Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Mary Austin, Constance Goddard DuBois, Beatriz Bellido de Luna, and Edith Eaton (Sui Sin Far), all of whom were contributors to the Southern California periodical Land of Sunshine.

In this magazine, which generally touted the superiority of the West and its white settlers, women authors undercut triumphalist narratives of racial superiority and rapid development by focusing on the stories of hardship experienced by the marginalized communities displaced by white expansion. By telling stories from the points of view of marginalized peoples who had been disempowered in the political sphere and shaping those stories to offer solutions to land settlement questions, these women writers used literature to make a political point. “Land of Sunshine” unpacks the competing visions of Southern California embedded in this periodical while revealing the essential role of magazines in place-making.

Author Bio

Sigrid Anderson is the librarian for English language and literature at the University of Michigan’s Hatcher Graduate Library and a lecturer in the Department of American Culture. She is the author of Fictions of Dissent: Reclaiming Authority in Transatlantic Women’s Writing.


“Sigrid Anderson peers into the settler practices that underwrote promotional periodicals like Land of Sunshine. Through deft readings of the pushback evidenced in women’s local color writing, Anderson reminds us that even the most triumphalist of booster developers had their critics.”—Krista Comer, author of Surfer Girls in the New World Order

“An engaging, well-researched, and important project. Sigrid Anderson deftly models new ways of reading a magazine as its own cultural form, not merely as a collection of literary documents.”—Stephen J. Mexal, author of Reading for Liberalism: The “Overland Monthly” and the Writing of the Modern American West

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Creating the Land of Sunshine
1. Land of Sunshine’s Western Story: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Poetry of Expansion
2. Ornaments of Ethnicity: Making a Typographic Case for Western Identity
3. Indigenous Geographies: Mapping Mary Austin’s The Blue Moon and The Truscott Luck
4. Finding a Place for the “Vanishing Indian”: Land Dispossession in Constance Goddard Du Bois’s A Soul in Bronze
5. Beatriz Bellido de Luna’s Romance Plots: Exposing the Erasure of Mexican Land Ownership in California
Conclusion: Who Gets to Tell the Story in Edith Eaton/Sui Sin Far’s Chinatown?

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