Dr Hannah Boast BA (Jt Hons), MA, PhD

Photograph of Dr Hannah Boast

Department of English Literature
Teaching Fellow in Contemporary and Postcolonial Literature

Contact details

Room 129, Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I research and teach contemporary world literature and literary theory. My interests centre on the relationships between literature, culture and resource politics, particularly the politics of water.


  • BA (Jt Hons) English Studies and Philosophy, University of Nottingham (2009)
  • MA Cultures of Empire, Resistance and Postcoloniality, University of York (2010)
  • PhD, University of York (2016)


I joined the University of Birmingham in 2016. I was previously based at the University of York, where I held a Humanities Research Centre Postdoctoral Fellowship after completing my doctoral and MA studies. My doctoral research was co supervised in the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield as part of the White Rose Network on Hydropolitics: Community, Environment and Conflict in an Unevenly Developed World.


I convene the third-year module Feminist Killjoys: Theories of Gender and Sexuality, and teach on the second-year Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies. In 2017-2018 I teach on the undergraduate modules Twenty-First Century Literature, New World Orders and the MA Contemporary Literature programme. I have also taught on the modules Prose, Plays and Performance and Tragedy (Convenor).

I previously convened the third-year module Modern Arabic Literature at the University of York.

Postgraduate supervision

I’d be happy to hear from prospective postgraduate students interested in Middle East literature, ecocriticism, the culture and politics of water, or the environmental humanities.

Find out more - our PhD English Literature  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research examines the politics of resource scarcity in contemporary world literature, focusing on hydropolitics. I am currently completing my first monograph, titled Hydrofictions: Water, Power and Politics in Israeli and Palestinian Literature, for Edinburgh University Press. Hydrofictions identifies water as a crucial new topic of literary and cultural analysis at a critical moment for the world's water resources. By analysing a range of twentieth and twenty-first century texts, I argue for the necessity of recognising water's vital importance in understanding contemporary literature from Israel/Palestine, showing that water is as culturally significant as that much more obvious object of nationalist attention, the land. Newer projects in development include monographs on world literature and water crisis, and on literature and environment in Israel/Palestine.

My wider interests include popular culture; the intersections between literary studies and geography; literary theory, particularly postcolonial studies, ecocriticism, world-systems, feminist and queer theory; Arabic literature; and literature and activism, particularly environmentalism.

Other activities

I present regularly at academic conferences around the UK and internationally. Recent talks include a paper on neoliberalism and world water crisis (World-Ecology Research Network, Durham, 2016), and on pop cultural portrayals of women in the Israel Defense Forces (Pop Culture and World Politics, Newcastle, 2017).

I coordinated the international, AHRC-funded network 'Imagining Jerusalem, c. 1099 to the Present Day' from 2013-2015. The network brought together academics, curators and professionals from around the world to examine the history, culture and politics of Jerusalem in global perspective. I organised a number of conferences for the network at York and King's College London, and ran a popular blog and Twitter account. 

I have co-organised a range of other events, including the 2014 Postcolonial Studies Association postgraduate and early career conference, 'Resources of Resistance' and 'Social Water', a 2013 workshop involving academics and artists working on hydropolitical themes. I have also organised a number of community events on feminist and queer cultures for Sheffield's Off the Shelf literature festival.



  • Hydrofictions: Water, Power and Politics in Israeli and Palestinian Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming)


  • '"A river without water": Hydropolitics and the River Jordan in Palestinian Literature', Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 51:2 (2016), 1275-86
  • '"Planted over the past": Ideology and Ecology in Israel's National Eco-Imaginary', Green Letters, 16 (2012), 46-58

Review essays

  • '"To irrigate is to govern": Recent studies in hydropolitics', Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 53:3 (2017), 393-395
  • 'The Place of the Mediterranean in Modern Israeli Identity by Alexandra Nocke and River Jordan: The Mythology of a Dividing Line by Rachel Havrelock', Jewish Quarterly, (2013), 54-57