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The Architectural Metamorphosis of the Israeli-Arab Kitchen: Social Structures, Cultural Patterns, and Gender Identities in a Spatial Perspective

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This essay focuses on the relationship between form and culture. It demonstrates how architectural evidence can be used in the historical reconstruction of social and cultural processes. In this research, the architectural metamorphosis of the kitchen in the Palestinian Arab society in Israel is outlined from the end of the Ottoman rule to the late twentieth century. Beginning in late nineteenth-century rural Palestine, when preparation of food was an integral part of the agricultural way of life, this essay traces the kitchen's departure from the interior space during the period of the British Mandate in Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel; its return to the house in the sixties; and the subsequent changes in the design of the kitchen during the last quarter of the previous century. This socio-architectural analysis seeks to examine forms of life in a broad historical context of social, economic, and political transformations, and to carefully draw significant insights about the status of women in the domestic sphere from the architectural history of the kitchen.


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Affiliations: 1: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem;, Email:


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