Creating a Season: Tourism, Sexuality, and Imaginations of Beirut

This dissertation is an ethnographic and historical investigation into questions of sexuality, sensuality, mobility, and tourism in the context of Beirut, Lebanon.  The work explores affective atmospheres and the conditions that developed through tourism and pleasure-seeking across many eras. Throughout the historic sections I argue for the importance of the seasons, senses, and ensuing sensibilities that created imaginations of Lebanon as a site of bodily pleasure, excess, and liberal social relationships.  The ethnographic work, which spans 2004-2014, centers on male non-heterosexual subjectivities and examines for whom Beirut is permissive, liberal, or gay friendly - in which spaces, and at what times – and how imaginations of place circulate through decades of media connected by tourism. The work speaks strongly to contemporary issues of nationality and class by placing male physical movement onto larger discussions of political economy and interpretations of history in Lebanon. It does so by developing an Anthropological Meteorology to think about location across time and space -  as well as the role of the body through sensation, pleasure, and hope.