Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research

Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research كحل: مجلة لأبحاث الجسد و الجندر is a progressive, feminist journal on gender and sexuality in the Middle East, South West Asia, and North Africa regions. Kohl Journal is a biannual, multilingual, open access, and peer reviewed academic journal. It targets mainly, but not exclusively, graduate-level academics, fresh graduates, independent writers, activists, and researchers who are not affiliated with an academic institution. We also welcome submissions from seminal contributors in the field.

Based in Beirut, Lebanon, Kohl Journal originated from the belief that much of what is widely available for mainstream readership on feminism, gender, and sexuality in our regions is burdened with Orientalist misconceptions, shallow investigations, and a paradoxical mixture of over and under-researching. While particularly narrow, or “hot,” topics are popularized and explored in a myriad of ways, many important positionalities and contexts are left untreated. This journal hopes to trouble the hegemony of knowledge production, and ensure that our regions and communities play a central role in redefining their own intersections and challenges when it comes to feminist and sexuality research.

At Kohl, we intend to provide a non-exoticizing, non-minority platform to promote independent knowledge and knowledge by young and graduate-level academics, thereby bridging the gap between activist circles and academia. Kohl also encourages the free and equal access to information and resources. Feel free to read, share, and use our published material, provided you reference our authors and the journal.

Conceived in the corners of a class on Orientalism, Kohl is the realization of a political vision.

About the name

Kohl is the powder of the ithmid, or galena stone, mixed with water. For thousands of years and across the Asian and African continents, both men and women painted their eyelids with this amalgam. It was believed that Kohl protected the eyes and improved the eyesight of its wearer.

Now commercialized as “Arabic eyeliner,” kohl has been incorporated in the Orientalist fantasies of how “Arab” women should look. The representations of “Arab” women are either hypersexualized in a poor imitation of the belly-dancing costume, or victimized behind a veil or burqa, or dressed in an awkward combination of both. Inevitably, all are compulsively associated with the penetrating dark eyes, accentuated with abundant kohl.

We chose the name Kohl to assert that it is not an exotic accessory. We reclaim its history and the many histories that have been blurred and lost to colonial hegemonies. Kohl is a new vision on feminism, gender, and the body.

Our languages of publication

Our team gives particular importance to the Arabic language. We consider it to be a legitimate language of knowledge production and intellectual exchange. Therefore, every issue of Kohl will consist of two versions: one in Arabic, and another one in both English and French. In other words, all the articles accepted for publication will be translated either to Arabic (from French and English), or to English (from Arabic).

Our editing system

Unlike most other academic journals, Kohl Journal welcomes work in progress, provided the papers submitted are complete drafts. We consider promising pieces of writing and acknowledge the fact that privileged forms of academic research are not accessible to everyone. We offer the authors of the pieces accepted for inclusion the option to work closely with our team via Skype and e-mail. Not only does this process pave the way for continuous collaboration and exchange of ideas, but it strengthens the formation of horizontal and intersectional networks of solidarity across our regions and communities.

Arianne Shahvisi

Nadje Al-Ali

Khouloud Mahdhaoui

Ebtihal Mahadeen

Elisabeth Armstrong

Sawsan Abdulrahim

Mai Panaga Babker

Rola Yasmine

Ghiwa Sayegh

Editor in Chief

Roula Seghaier

Managing Editor

Safa Hamzeh

Community and Communications Manager