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Herlands

Exploring the Women’s Land Movement in the United States

2018
Author:

Keridwen N. Luis

Herlands

How women-only communities provide spaces for new forms of culture, sociality, gender, and sexuality

Herlands, a compelling ethnography of women’s land networks in the United States, highlights the ongoing relevance of these communities as vibrant cultural enclaves that also impact broader ideas about gender, women’s bodies, lesbian identity, and right ways of living. As a participant-observer, Keridwen N. Luis brings unique insights to the lives and stories of the women living in these communities.

Women’s lands are intentional, collective communities composed entirely of women. Rooted in 1970s feminist politics, they continue to thrive in a range of ways, from urban households to isolated rural communes, providing spaces where ideas about gender, sexuality, and sociality are challenged in both deliberate and accidental ways. Herlands, a compelling ethnography of women’s land networks in the United States, highlights the ongoing relevance of these communities as vibrant cultural enclaves that also have an impact on broader ideas about gender, women’s bodies, lesbian identity, and right ways of living.

As a participant-observer, Keridwen N. Luis brings unique insights to the lives and stories of the women living in these communities. While documenting the experiences of specific spaces in Massachusetts, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Ohio, Herlands also explores the history of women’s lands and breaks new ground exploring culture theory, gender theory, and how lesbian identity is conceived and constructed in North America. Luis also discusses how issues of race and class are addressed, the ways in which nudity and public hygiene challenge dominant constructions of the healthy or aging body, and the pervasive influence of hegemonic thinking on debates about transgender women. Luis finds that although changing dominant thinking can be difficult and incremental, women’s lands provide exciting possibilities for revolutionary transformation in society.

Herlands

Keridwen N. Luis is lecturer in the departments of anthropology; women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; and sociology at Brandeis University, and in the departments of women, gender, and sexuality and sociology at Harvard University.

Herlands

Introduction: Welcome to Women’s Land, Here Is Your Umbrella
1. The Political Is Personal: From the Peace Camp and Women’s Music Festivals to Women’s Land
2. Are the Amazons White? Race and Space on Women’s Land
3. “Now My Neighbors and Friends Are the Same People”: Community, Language, and Identity
4. The Giving Tree: Gift Economies Planted in Capitalist Soil
5. The Mountain Is She: Gender as Landscape, Landscape as Gender
6. Primally Female: Agency and the Meaning of the Body on Women’s Land
7. We Have Met the Enemy and She Is Us: Scapegoating Trans Bodies
8. The Hermit and the Family: Aging and Dis/Ability in Community
Afterword: Women’s Lands, Women’s Lives
Acknowledgments
Bibliography