Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender, and the Middle Class in Lebanon, 1870-1920

By Jabbra, Nancy W. | The Middle East Journal, Spring 2002 | Go to article overview

Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender, and the Middle Class in Lebanon, 1870-1920


Jabbra, Nancy W., The Middle East Journal


LEBANON

Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender, and the Middle Class in Lebanon, 1870-1920, by Akram Fouad Khater. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2001. xiv + 189 pages. Bibl. to p. 246. Index to p. 257. $55.00 cloth; $22.50 paper.

Reviewed by Nancy W. Jabbra

Over a third of the population of Mount Lebanon left between 1890 and 1914. Yet, as Akram Fouad Khater argues in Inventing Home, the emigrants did not simply become assimilated into the nations that received them, nor did they simply become modern former peasants and members of the middle class. Instead, the process of change in the new milieu was a dialectical one, in which the emigrants both resisted and accommodated change, all the while ardently discussing the meaning of their experiences in magazines, newspapers, and social gatherings. They sent letters and remittances back home, and a substantial number of them returned home to stay, bearing new goods and ideas. And so, emigration from Lebanon affected the old country, too.

It is Khater's contention that the modernization of Lebanon cannot be understood without investigating the effects of emigration. Moreover, he argues that modernity is not only about the formation of the middle class, but also about family and gender. Thus, Khater's narrative takes the reader from the Mountain to the diaspora and back, addressing issues of class, gender, and family at each stage.

Inventing Home is divided into seven chapters. In the first chapter, Khater lays out his basic argument. In chapter 2, he addresses the economy of the Mountain after 1861, and the reasons why so many peasants left. Silk production raised standards of living, and young women became factory workers. When silk prices fell, the next step for peasants was to leave the Mountain, but in the meantime, old standards of morality had been challenged.

Chapters 3 and 4 move the story to the diaspora, where old standards underwent further challenges. Many men took up the factory work they disdained, while others peddled; women went out peddling on their own, and families were crammed together with strangers in tenements where American middle class reformers attempted to raise their standards of living. At the same time, religious, clan, and village identities were superseded by national ones. Following the lead of American writers, many Lebanese extolled a domestic vision for modern Lebanese American women; others challenged these views. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender, and the Middle Class in Lebanon, 1870-1920
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.