Organizing Against the Tide: Alternative Economies and Gendered Labor


We are pleased to invite submissions for the ninth issue of Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research, slated for publication in June 2019. Young activists, independent researchers, graduate students and fresh graduates are particularly encouraged to apply. We also welcome submissions from seminal contributors in the field.

With the global emboldening of fundamentalisms and extreme right, and an increased push into the binary of “with us or against us,” organizing against the tide has become, more than ever, a matter of survival. This issue is an attempt at documenting, gendering, and queering leftist organizing and alternative economies in the Middle East and North Africa especially, but also transnationally. It also aims to challenge homogenizing approaches and calls for unity that mobilize on the basis of a common evil rather than a common and communal vision. At the intersection of class, labor, gender, and political strategies, competing narratives have envisioned the toppling of social injustice through the overthrow of the economic system or through the change of cultural and social norms, failing to see the connection between them. Thus, some labor movements were stripped from gendered analysis and demands, and some organizing around questions of gender has become decontextualized and oblivious to class disparities among queer bodies.

For this issue of Kohl, we are looking for papers centered in feminist, queer, and intersectionality theories that illustrate the overlaps of patriarchy and capitalism and how they support each other. We are looking to elaborate on alternative modes of organizing that push for leftist feminist politics, reconcile laborist and feminist approaches to class struggle, and/or challenge reformist methods that commodify women’s participation in capitalist economies. We are interested in pieces that debunk the myths of institutional gender mainstreaming, and that, instead, view labor experiences as gendered experiences and gender justice as impossible to attain under a capitalist economy. We wish to understand the ways in which the interlinkages between capitalism and patriarchy allow for the exploitation of not only women, but also people of color, queer, the working class, refugees, and differently abled bodies.


Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • What labor is valued under neoliberal economies? The perceived value of increasing acquisitive power, consumer capitalism, and private ownership.
  • Acquisitive power as an inequality of class within communities traditionally seen as marginalized.
  • The illusion of “hard work” as a route towards social mobility and the promises of private property: sustaining the system.
  • The historical and contemporary challenges of communal labor and unionization.
  • Invisible labor: alternative economies of capital and affect.
  • Unpaid labor, care work, and performing gender-domesticated roles.
  • Sex work and sexualities as gendered labor.
  • Understating rural feminisms: the urban/rural divide in labor value and the push towards urbanization as “civility.”
  • Critiques of institutional gender mainstreaming: incorporating sites of resistance into the neoliberal market.
  • The appropriation of activist labor and organizing within NGOized, hierarchal structures of power.
  • The appropriation of feminist art within NGOs and institutions as a mainstreaming effort and its effects on the labor market for artists who do not have access to these resources.
  • Class-based organizing and intersectionality with other struggles: historical movements, contemporary efforts, and critiques of the left.
  • The complicated position of Marxism and feminism in regards to each other: revisiting the claim that Marxism is inherently masculine, pursuing class interest, and excluding gender disparities.
  • The positionality of women and gender justice in labor movements in the MENA: critiques of masculine-centric organizing.
  • Feminist principles for alternative economies and structures of leftist organizing.
  • Experiences in creating housing cooperatives, workers’ cooperatives, unions, and other forms of community organizing.
  • Troubling the gendered and reproductive labor: poly structures, alternative families, community parenting, communal retirement plans.

To submit a paper, please send your blinded piece to as a .doc or .docx file, with “Submission Issue 9” as the subject of your e-mail.

We accept work in progress, provided full drafts are submitted. If accepted for inclusion, please note that your paper will be translated to a second language by our team.