Hussam Hussein

Hussam Hussein


Departmental Lecturer and Research Fellow in International Relations
+44 (0)1865 285987
Somerville College
Office Address:
Manor Road

I am a Departmental Lecturer and Oxford Martin Fellow in International Relations at the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR) at the University of Oxford, member of the Middle East Centre, and Fulford Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College.

I obtained my PhD degree from the School of International Development, University of East Anglia. My PhD thesis investigated the discourse of water scarcity in the case of Jordan, and its impacts on transboundary water governance. After the PhD, I worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the American University of Beirut, investigating hydropolitics in the Levant region, and as a Research Associate at the University of Kassel working on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus in the Mediterranean Region.

My fieldwork has been funded by the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL), the Arab Council for Social Sciences (ACSS), and by the Royal Geographical Society (RGS). My research focuses on the role of discourses in shaping water policies in the Middle East, on transboundary water governance and critical hydropolitics, and on issues related to the political economy of water resources in arid and semi-arid regions. I am a Visiting Fellow of the Water Security Research Centre – School of International Development of the University of East Anglia (UK). I obtained my BA and MA in International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Trieste – Gorizia (Italy), studied Middle Eastern Studies at SOAS, University of London, and obtained an MA in Interdisciplinary European Studies from the College of Europe.

I also worked for the Italian Embassy in Amman, the European Parliament, and for the International Finance Corporation. I also worked as an international consultant for UNICEF, the World Bank, and BGR. 

Research Interests

My research focuses on:

- Hydropolitics (transboundary water governance, conflict and cooperation over shared water resources)

- Role of discourses and narratives in IR

- Construction of (water) scarcities

- Climate change politics

Environment and Climate Change



  • MPhil in IR core course “The Development of the International System and Contemporary Debates in International Relations Theory”
  • UG in PPE course: “211 Politics in the Middle East”



Hussein, H., A political economy of water scarcity in the Middle East, Palgrave MacMillan (under contract, expected publication spring 2021).


Articles in peer-reviewed journals:

Liptrot, T. and Hussein, H. (2020). Between regulation and targeted expropriation: Rural-to-urban groundwater reallocation in Jordan. Water Alternatives 13(3): 864-885

Hussein, H., Conker, A., Grandi, M. (2020): Small is beautiful but not trendy: Understanding the allure of big hydraulic works in the Euphrates-Tigris and Nile waterscapes, Mediterranean Politics

Hussein, H.; Lambert, L.A., (2020), A Rentier State under Blockade: Qatar’s Water-Energy-Food Predicament from Energy Abundance and Food Insecurity to a Silent Water Crisis. Water, 12, 1051.

Hussein, H.; Natta, A.; Yehya, A.A.K.; Hamadna, B. (2020), Syrian Refugees, Water Scarcity, and Dynamic Policies: How Do the New Refugee Discourses Impact Water Governance Debates in Lebanon and Jordan? Water, 12, 325.

Riad, P., Graefe, S., Hussein, H., Buerkert, A. (2020), Landscape transformation processes in two large and two small cities in Egypt and Jordan over the last five decades using remote sensing data, Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 197, May 2020, 103766

Conker, A., Hussein, H. (2019). Hydropolitics and issue-linkage along the Orontes River Basin: an analysis of the Lebanon–Syria and Syria–Turkey hydropolitical relations. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 1-19.

Talozi, T., Altz-Stamm, M., Hussein, H., Reich, P., (2019), “What constitutes an equitable water share? A reassessment of the Jordan-Israel water agreement 25 years later”, Water Policy

Silva L.P. and Hussein, H., (2019), “An analysis of the production of scale in the regional hydropolitics: the cases of La Plata River Basin and the Guarani Aquifer System in South America”, Geoforum

Conker, A., Hussein, H., (2019), “Hydraulic mission at home, hydraulic mission abroad? Examining Turkey’s regional ‘Pax-Aquarum’ and its limits”, Sustainability

Odeh, T., Mohammad, A.H., Hussein, H., Ismail, M., Almomani, T., (2019), “Over-pumping of groundwater in Irbid governorate, northern Jordan: a conceptual model to analyze the effects of urbanization and agricultural activities on groundwater levels and salinity”, Environmental Earth Sciences, 78: 40

Hussein, H.; Menga, F.; Greco, F. (2018), “Monitoring Transboundary Water Cooperation in SDG 6.5.2: How a Critical Hydropolitics Approach Can Spot Inequitable Outcomes”, Sustainability10, 3640.

Hussein, H., (2018), "Lifting the veil: Unpacking the discourse of water scarcity in Jordan”, Environmental Science and Policy, Vol. 89, 385-392

Hussein, H., (2018), "Tomatoes, tribes, bananas, and Bedouins: a political economy analysis of the shadow state and of the politics of water in Jordan,” Environmental Science and Policy Vol. 84, 170-176.

Hussein, H., (2018), “The Guarani Aquifer System, highly present but not high profile: a hydropolitical analysis of transboundary groundwater governance”, Environmental Science and Policy, Vol. 83, 54-62.

Hussein, H., (2018),"Yarmouk, Jordan, and Disi basins: examining the impact of the discourse of water scarcity in Jordan on transboundary water governance”, Mediterranean Politics

Alsharifa H., Jung C., Odeh O., Hussein H., (2018), “Understanding the impact of droughts in the Yarmouk Basin, Jordan: Monitoring droughts through precipitation, water level, and vegetation indices”, Arabian Journal of Geosciences, Vol. 11(5), 103

Hussein, H., (2018), "A critique of water scarcity discourses in educational policy and textbooks in Jordan”, Environmental Education, Vol. 49 (3), 260-271

Hussein, H., (2017), “Whose ‘reality’? Discourses and hydropolitics along the Yarmouk River Basin”, Contemporary Levant, Vol.2 (2), 103-115.

Hussein, H., (2017), “Politics of the Dead Sea Canal: a Historical Review of the Evolving Discourses, Interests, and Plans”, Water International, Vol. 42(5), 527-542.

Hussein, H., and Grandi, M., (2017),Dynamic political contexts and power asymmetries: the cases of the Blue Nile and the Yarmouk Rivers”, International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law, and Economics, 17(6), 795-814.

Hussein, H., (2015) "The Water Scarcity Discourse in Jordan" in: Stefan L. Smith, Adam Allentuck, Louise Martin, Joe Roe, Matthew Jones, Tobias Richter, Gary Rollefson, Hussam Hussein, Catherine Longford, Kyra Reynolds, Bernd Mller-Neuhof, Robert Bewley, David Kennedy & Rebecca Banks (2015) Long-term Landscape, Environment and Climate Change Studies, from the Past through to Predictive Models for Future Developments, Bulletin for the Council for British Research in the Levant, 10(1), 65-82.


Viewpoints, Editorials, and Opinion Papers:

Eufemia, L., & Hussein, H. (2020). How did the COVID-19 crisis relate to meeting global climate targets for 2020?, Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society, Opinion Paper

Hussein, H., Greco, F. (2020), How will the COVID-19 pandemic impact food security and virtual water “trade”?, Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society, Opinion Paper

Hussein, H., (2019), “An analysis of the framings of water scarcity in the Jordanian National Water Strategy”, Viewpoint, Water International


Book Reviews:

Hussein, H., (2018), Book review of the edited book by Zeray Yihdego, Alistair Rieu-Clarke, Ana Elisa Cascão “The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the Nile Basin: implications for transboundary  water cooperation”, Water International

Hussein, H., (2017), Book review of the edited book by Emil Sandström, Anders Jägerskog, and Terje Oestigaard, “Land and Hydropolitics in the Nile River Basin. Challenges and new investments”, International Journal of Water Resources Development, Vol. 33(4), 680-682.


Chapters, Working Papers, and Reports

Hussein, H. (2016). An analysis of the discourse of water scarcity and hydropolitical dynamics in the case of Jordan (Doctoral dissertation, University of East Anglia).

Hussein, H. (2018), “Jordan-Israel Tensions Threaten to Derail Water-Sharing Project”, IAI Commentary 18/01, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rome, Italy

Hussein, H. (2017), “Water scarcity in Jordan: roots of the issue and policy recommendations”, IAI Working Papers, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rome, Italy

Hussein, H. (2016), “Hydropolitical dynamics and groundwater governance in the case of the Guarani Aquifer System”, in SCELG Working Paper 4/2016, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK

Hussein H. and Grandi M. (2015) "Contexts Matter: A Hydropolitical Analysis of Blue Nile and Yarmouk River Basins", in: Fayyad, et al “Social Water Studies in the Arab Region”, SLE, 2015

Hussein, H. et al. (2013), “Doing Business in the Arab World Report 2013”, IFC- World Bank Group

Hussein, H. et al. (2012), “Doing Business in the Arab World Report 2012”, IFC- World Bank Group

“Doing Business Report 2013”, The World Bank and IFC, October 2012 (Team member)

“Doing Business Report 2012”, The World Bank and IFC, October 2011 (Team member)

Journal article