Joe F. Khalil is an associate professor of global media in residence at Northwestern University Qatar. His research and teaching focus on understanding changes and continuities in the media, with a particular focus on Middle East youth.

He is committed to an interdisciplinary and transnational approach to understanding mainstream and alternative media, his research probes media industries, production studies, social movements, and digital cultures. His most recent co-authored book is The Digital Double Bind: Change and Stasis (Oxford University Press, forthcoming) with Mohamed Zayani. The book proposes a historically anchored, empirically supported conceptual approach for examining how the region adapted and adopted the digital turn. He is also co-editor with Gholam Khiabani, Tourya Guayybess, and Bilge Yesil of The Handbook of Media and Culture in the Middle East (Blackwell-Wiley, forthcoming). As part of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) Global Handbooks series, this collection brings together established and emerging scholars of the Middle East to write reflective essays and empirical studies on the region’s most salient and pressing issues in culture and media.

Khalil is also the author of Arab Satellite Entertainment Television and Public Diplomacy (Smith Richardson Foundation, 2009) and co-author of Arab Television Industries (BFI and Palgrave, 2009) with Marwan Kraidy. He is also the co-editor of Global Communication: Shift or Statis (a Special Section of the International Journal of Communication, 2016) with John Downing and of Culture, Time and Publics in the Arab World (I.B. Tauris, 2018) with Tarik Sabry. He was also the editor of the Middle East section for the Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media (Sage, 2011).

Khalil has published articles in New Media and Society, International Journal of Digital Television, Transnational Broadcasting Studies, Arab Media and Society, Global Media Journal, and Television, and New Media. His work also appears in several edited collections, including The SAGE Handbook of the Digital Media Economy (2022), A Companion to Television (2020), The Routledge Companion to Global Television (2019), The Routledge Companion to Media and Activism (2018), and Handbook on Development Communication and Social Change (2014).

Khalil is deeply committed to undergraduate teaching and mentoring. His courses reflect his scholarly and professional interests, combining theoretical and practical engagements with media. In addition to teaching courses in global media and communication, Khalil has designed classes on Arab television industries, alternative media in the Middle East, and theories of mediated communication. Simultaneously, he developed courses on production research, web series, and television directing. His commitment to students extends beyond the classroom by mentoring them through professional jobs or advanced studies.

Khalil’s honors include affiliate faculty with Northwestern’s Middle East and North Africa Program, a research fellow at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and Goldsmiths, University of London (2018). He was previously a research fellow at the London School of Economics (2012). He has been awarded grants from the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Qatar National Research Priority Fund, and the Arab Council for Social Sciences. He is an active member of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), where he serves on the Publications Committee, and the International Communication Association (ICA), where he served as secretary for the Global Communication and Social Change division, and a member of the Future of ICA Conferences Taskforce (2020-2022).

Khalil has worked, studied, or researched in more than nine countries including Qatar, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Italy, and the United States. Khalil has been part of the Arab alternative and mainstream media, first as an ‘unlicensed’ radio D.J. and then as a T.V. executive for 15 years. As an expert on Arab media, Khalil is a frequent expert guest on media programs on Al-Jazeera International and the BBC; he has also given interviews to the New York Times, the Financial Times, CNN, Foreign Policy, the Daily Star, and the WIRED, among others. He frequently speaks about Arab media and youth issues at venues such as the Global Media Research Center, the Center of Contemporary Arab Studies, the Communication and Media Research Institute, the Issam Fares Public Policy Institute, and The ThinkLab, as well as lecturing on occasion at the New School for Social Research, Texas A&M University, Georgetown University, University of Westminster (U.K.), University of Illinois, University of Aarhus (Denmark), the University of Copenhagen, Stockholm University, MediaCityUK, King’s College, and University of Paris 13.

He earned a PhD in  Mass Communication and Media Arts from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and an MA in Telecommunications from Ohio University, Athens.

Fellowships and Awards


2018 Visiting Fellow, Goldsmiths College, University of London, United Kingdom 

2018 Visiting Research Associate, the Centre for Global Media and Communications, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), United Kingdom

2012 Visiting Research Fellow, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom

2006 Festival Fellow, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Ithaca

Honors and Awards

2015-2016 Qatar National Priority Research Fund (QNRF), grant part of the Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) for Arab Children and Youth Television: A Study of Role Models. Award Amount: $29,000

2014-2015 Qatar National Priority Research Fund (QNRF), grant part of the Conference & Workshop Sponsorship Program (CWSP) for a conference titled “Fresh Global Media Players: Redistributing Media Power?” Award Amount: $55,000

2013-2015 The Arab Council for Social Sciences, grant part of a research program on “Producing the Public: Space, Media, Participation” – Research project “Mainstreaming Youth Media” Award Amount: $10,000

2008 Smith Richardson Foundation, grant applied towards the research and publication of a monograph “Arab Satellite Television Entertainment: Opportunities for Public Diplomacy” Award amount: $72,662.

2008 Excellence Through Commitment Outstanding Graduate Research Award, Southern Illinois University. Award amount $ 1,000


The questions of continuity and change within the media landscape animate most of my publications and research. At the center of my interest are the material and symbolic manifestations of emerging technologies and media industries. I pursue this overarching research interest in two parallel research strands: Alternative media and media industries. 

One research area examines alternative media in the Middle East, focusing on youth demographics. My research explores why and how specific communication tools and content emerge from and serve young people’s cultural politics, such as rap, video making, blogging, and other digital and non-digital artifacts.

Another research area engages with media industry studies, particularly streaming platforms and their trans-local operations. I draw the boundaries of my research around how media content is developed, promoted, distributed, and exhibited and what the ensuing products and practices reveal about sociocultural, political, and economic logics and dynamics.

Research Interests: Digital Media Industries, Arab Television Industries, Social Movement Media, Digital Media Cultures, Arabic Rap.




Culture, time and publics in the Arab world: Media, Public Space, and Temporality. London: IB Tauris. [with Tarik Sabry] IB Tauris. 2019

Arab Television Industries. [with Marwan Kraidy] New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2010 


Select Recent Journal Articles

Digitality and Music Streaming in the Middle East: Anghami and the Burgeoning Startup Culture. [With Mohamed Zayani] International Journal of Communication16, 19. 2022 

Digitality and Debordered Spaces in the Era of Streaming: A Global South Perspective. [With Mohamed Zayani] Television & New Media23(2), 167-183. 2022 

De-territorialized digital capitalism and the predicament of the nation-state: Netflix in Arabia. [With Mohamed Zayani] Media, Culture & Society43(2), 201-218. 2021

Lebanon’s waste crisis: An exercise of participation rights. New Media & Society19(5), 701-712. 2017

From Big Brother to Al Maleka: The growing pains of TV format trade in the Arab region. International Journal of Digital Television8(1), 29-46. 2017

Questioning Global Communication Power. A Special Section of the International Journal of Communication, 10, 8, 2016. [co-edited with Downing, J.]


Select Recent Book Chapters 

Television in the Arab Region: History, Structure, and Transformations. In Wasko, J. & Meehan, E. (2019). A Companion to Television. (pp. 439- 458) Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Arab Television Industries: Enduring Players and Emerging Alternatives. In Shimpach, S. (2019). The Routledge Companion to Global Television. (pp. 401-410) Routledge Media and Cultural Studies Companions. New York, NY: Routledge.

Neo-Tajdeed? Rap in Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. In Sabry, T. & Khalil J. F. (2019) Culture, Time and Publics in the Arab World: Media, Public Space, and Temporality, (pp. 113-136). London: IB Tauris.

Turning murders into public executions: 'beheading videos' as alternative media. In G. Meikle (2018). The Routledge Companion to Media and Activism. (pp. 232-240) New York, NY: Routledge.

Gender, Music Videos, and Arab Youth: The Curious Case of Mini Studio. [With Kirsten Pike] In N. Sakr & J. Steemers (2017), Children's TV and Digital Media in the Arab World: Childhood, Screen Content and Press (pp. 138-162). London: IB Tauris.


Global Media and Communication

  • Exploring Global Media
  • Global Culture and Communication
  • Theories of Mediated Communication
  • Understanding Media Industries
  • Alternative Media in a Diverse Society

Middle East Media and Culture

  • Arab Television Industries
  • Youth Cultures in the Middle East
  • Alternative Media in the Middle East


Media Production

  • Production Research
  • Television Directing
  • Television program development
  • Creating the Webseries [co-taught]
  • Cityscapes (experimental film theory/production) [co-taught]