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Hydrofictions: Water, Power and Politics in Israeli and Palestinian Literature

Boast, Hannah (2015) Hydrofictions: Water, Power and Politics in Israeli and Palestinian Literature. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This thesis examines the representation of water in Israeli and Palestinian literature, from the early years of Zionist settlement at the start of the twentieth century, to the daily violence of today’s ongoing occupation. It takes an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on disciplines including cultural geography, science and technology studies, and, inevitably, politics. At the same time, it situates these explorations in the context of the increasingly fevered contemporary debates on ‘water wars’, global water crisis, and the Anthropocene. In doing so, it demonstrates the many ways in which water intersects with Israeli and Palestinian cultures, at the same time as indicating the potential for literary approaches to deepen and critique existing political, scientific and corporate discourse on the future of the world’s water. Literary critics have so far had little to say about water. Land has always seemed more politically important and cultural meaningful. The significance of land appears dramatically amplified in the context of Israel/Palestine, where issues of land, borders and sovereignty remain painful and unresolved. This neglect of water exists in spite of a growing trend towards reading literature for its representations of resources, most prominently in the subject of ‘petrofiction’. No resource, however, is more fundamental than water. In bringing water to the forefront, this thesis has significant implications for future research in Israeli and Palestinian literary studies, postcolonial ecocriticism, and the environmental humanities. It demonstrates the potential for a focus on water to open up an array of new texts for exploration, and for literary research to productively complicate and enrich our understanding of, as well as our relationship with, the ubiquitous, and far more than merely ‘natural’ substance of water.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Depositing User: Dr Hannah Boast
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2016 09:41
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2016 09:41
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12508

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