Mobile Homes: The Refashioning of Palestinian Merchant Homes in the Late Ottoman Period

This article is about movement and the role it has played in shaping Palestinian homes. The article looks at merchants from Bethlehem as a case study of how mobility produced new types of homes in the late Ottoman and mandate periods, both materially and conceptually. It documents how the merchants’ newfound economic success transformed Bethlehem’s urban landscape and in turn produced a kind of “mobile home” as they adopted increasingly transient lifestyles, moving between multiple locations across the globe. These trends are explained within a framework of nineteenth century globalization, the birth of corporate identities, and shifting gender relations.

Author biography: 

Jacob Norris is a senior lecturer in Middle Eastern history at the University of Sussex in the UK. His book, Land of Progress: Palestine in the Age of Colonial Development, was published by Oxford University Press in 2013. His current research is on Bethlehem in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, investigating how the global circulations of the town’s merchants transformed Bethlehem’s socio-economic landscape.

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