Making the San Fernando Valley
Rural Landscapes, Urban Development, and White Privilege
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Georgia Press
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Completing this book offers a welcomed opportunity to reflect back on my intellectual trajectory and the many, many people who have shaped my growth, both personal and academic. The questions that I raise in this book have been with me for a long time certainly since my time as an undergraduate at the University of California, San ...
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In 1965, Lifetime Savings and Loan, a bank serving Los Angeles's suburban San Fernando Valley, mailed an advertisement for the vast new Porter Ranch subdivision to potential home buyers. Carved out of the former property of real-estate tycoon George Porter, Porter Ranch would be the largest residential subdivision in the San Fernando Valley's history to date, housing more than forty-three ...
PART ONE: Creating the Foundations of Rural Whiteness, 1900-1960
1. Creating Whiteness through Gentleman Farming
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From the first decades of Anglo-American control after 1848 well into the twentieth century, Los Angeles was an explicitly and unabashedly white supremacist place. The choices that planners, real-estate developers, capitalists, and other city builders made about land use in the developing region were intended not only to attract investment and generate profit but also to solidify ...
2. Narrating Conquest in Local History
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Storytelling, through the writing of local history, was a crucial dimension of the Anglo-American conquest of Southern California and the U.S. West. From the 1920s through the 1960s, real-estate developers and community builders, often working in tandem with middle-class social groups, commissioned local professionals to write histories of the San Fernando Valley, which they then ...
3. Producing Western Heritage in the Postwar Suburb
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In 1998, Tinsley Yarbrough, professor of politics at East Carolina University and western film aficionado, set out to document the production locations of western films throughout California. Financed and edited by Albuquerquebased VideoWest productions, Yarbrough's cinematic tour included landmarks of western filmmaking in the San Fernando Valley and its outskirts, such as the ...
PART TWO: Consolidating Rural Whiteness, 1960-2000
4. Protecting Rurality through Horse-Keeping in the Northeast Valley
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In 1966, Glenn Haschenburger, an activist from the semirural community of Shadow Hills at the northeast end of the San Fernando Valley, explained the reasons for his neighborhood's activism to a reporter from the Los Angeles Times. Just a few years earlier, Shadow Hills had been designated the city's first "horse-raising zone," which guaranteed minimum lot sizes of twenty thousand ...
5. Linking Western Heritage and Environmental Justice in the West Valley
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At the same time that horse owners in Shadow Hills were working to create the city's first horse-keeping district, citing the threats that suburban development posed to the San Fernando Valley's rural western heritage, the owners of the Valley's western movie ranches were engaged in a similar struggle. By the late 1950s, the movie ranches and associated production locations had begun ...
PART THREE: Rural Whiteness in the Twenty-first Century
6 Urban Restructuring and the Consolidation of Rural Whiteness
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The institutionalization and formalization of the San Fernando Valley's rural landscapes examined in the previous two chapters occurred during a period of radical transformation in racial politics at the local, regional, national, and global scales. As we have seen, beginning in the 1960s, explicit white supremacy gave way to a position of official "color blindness," which is now widely regarded ...
7. Beliefs about Landscape, Anxieties about Change
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On a sunny March afternoon in 2003, I arrived at the Shadow Hills home of Patricia Wheat. Wheat, a white woman in her mid-sixties, met me in the driveway, wearing her characteristic jeans and cowboy boots, and greeted me warmly in a voice made hoarse by a lifetime of smoking cigarettes. Wheat's property, a sprawling six-acre ranch, is one of the few large parcels that remain in Shadow ...
8. "Rural Culture" and the Politics of Multiculturalism
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Whiteness in the northeast San Fernando Valley at the beginning of the twenty-first century remains persistently but tenuously linked to the rural landscape, within a city where whites are now a numerically declining but structurally privileged minority. Within this context, the historic relationships between the rural landscape, the urban state, real-estate developers, and capital are being ...
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Page Count: 316
Illustrations: 10 b&w photos, 3 maps
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation