Based on newspaper resources from Lebanon’s French mandate period (1920–46), Monroe’s essay offers a new perspective to a developing global historiography of automobility by considering, in a provisional way and primarily as a basis for further research, how the driving of cars shaped everyday and national life in Lebanon in the interwar era. First, Monroe explores how the driving of cars, as a demonstration of state power, served as a tool and representation of government. Second, she looks at how vehicular excursions by urban elite from the city to the mountain and rural areas created new patterns of leisure and recreation that put into practice the bourgeois habitus. Finally, she examines the gendered dimensions of automobility as women who took the wheel traversed boundaries both social and geographical. The essay explores how automobilities in mandate-era Lebanon participate in, and depart from, automobility paradigms that take the global North as the primary site of historical research and interest by providing insights into the ways in which the motor vehicle not only served a utilitarian function, but also contributed to particular constructions of class, gender, and nation.

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