Tofoul Abou-Hodeib’s aim in A Taste for Home is to “write a cultural history of domesticity that is at once global in the widest sense of the term and local enough to enter the most private of spaces” (2). Focusing on mid- to late nineteenth-century Beirut, she argues for relocating concepts of “home” and middle-class domesticity from “the periphery of modernity” to the center of its meaning and production (33). The book examines Ottoman archival sources in Istanbul, minutes of the Beirut municipal council, Hanafi court records, British and French colonial archives, American University of Beirut Jafet Library archives, Arabic press accounts in Beirut and Cairo, memoirs, and images from trade catalogs, among other archival material.

In A Taste for Home Abou-Hodeib takes what is both a category of analysis and a concept—domesticity—and asserts its centrality to “elucidat[ing]...

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