Duluth News Tribune: 'Herlands' provides detailed account of lands populated by women

By Dianna Hunter
Duluth News Tribune

Herlands (Keridwen N. Luis)In a new book from the University of Minnesota Press, Keridwen N. Luis looks at lands organized and populated entirely by women. The title of "Herlands: Exploring the Women's Land Movement in the United States" alludes to "Herland," a 1915 feminist novel by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in which explorers discover a society of women who reproduce asexually, resulting in a peaceful, egalitarian and exclusively female world.

No such miracle propelled the 1970s and '80s women's land experiments that I recalled in my memoir, "Wild Mares: My Lesbian Back-to-the-Land Life," from the same publisher. Our Minnesota and Wisconsin land projects were powered by faith in women's abilities and essential goodness. However naive, utopian, or essentialist our projects may look in retrospect, we felt we needed to situate ourselves in communities of our own making where we could support each other's strengths, knowledge and full humanity. Such support has been hard to find in the postwar patriarchy that remains highly resistant to change.

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