Literature and the Wadden Sea


The biodiversity unit can engage with the concept of biodiversity, and its role in Danish, German and Dutch culture, in different ways. It may start by teaching students some basic foundations of life in the Wadden Sea. The field of animal studies is likely to form the critical foundation for this unit that considers the role of species, particularly animals, in Wadden Sea literature. The unit may touch on the development of the concept of biodiversity in the history of science. It may also engage with extinction studies and question the position of different animals and their lives in the changing environment of the Wadden Sea. This unit may be combined with the Mini-unit ecology, and can be used to investigate connections between humanities and natural sciences, consider the different questions different disciplines are equipped to ask and answer, and discover how they can work together to further and deepen knowledge of life in the Wadden Sea and its entanglements with culture.

Suggested secondary readings:

Van Dooren, Thom. Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.

Heise, Ursula K. Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2016.

Kaiser et al . “Biodiversity.” Marine Ecology: Processes, Systems, and Impacts. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. 15-22.

NL (EN) Löffler, M.A.M. et al. “Introduction” and “Vegetation.” Back to Basics: Natural Dynamics and Resilience on the Dutch Wadden Sea Barrier Islands. Groningen: Het Grafisch Huis, 2008. 9-15; 38-42.

Lönngren, Ann-Sofie. “Metaphor, Metonymy, More-Than-Anthropocentric. The Animal That Therefore I Read (and Follow).” The Palgrave Handbook of Animals and Literature. Eds. Susan McHugh, Robert McKay and John Miller. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021. 37-50.

McCorristine, Shane and William M. Adams. “Ghost Species: Spectral Geographies of Biodiversity Conservation.” Cultural Geographies. 27.1 (2020): 101-115.

Reise, Karsten. “How Natural Is Wadden Nature?” A Natural History of the Wadden Sea: Riddled by Contingencies. Leeuwarden and Wilhelmshaven: Waddenacademie and Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, 2013. 60-69.

Robin, Libby. “The Rise of the Idea of Biodiversity: Crises, Responses and Expertise.” Quaderni: Communication, technologies, pouvoir. 76 (2011): 25-37.

Thiyagarajan, Nandini. “We Are Not in This World Alone: On Drawing Close, Animal Stories, and a Multispecies Sense of Place.” The Palgrave Handbook of Animals and Literature. Eds. Susan McHugh, Robert McKay and John Miller. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021. 79-94.

Weil, Kari. “Why Animal Studies Now?” Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now? New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.

Yusoff, Kathryn. “Aesthetics of Loss: Biodiversity, Banal Violence and Biotic Subjects.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 37.4 (2012): 572–592.

Suggested primary readings:

NL (EN) Leeflang, Ed. “De drieteenstrandloper.” n.d. Poetry International Archives. Accessed 7 Feb. 2022.

DE Neudecker, Christiane. Sommernovelle. Munich: Luchterhand, 2015.

Silence of the Tides. Directed by Pieter-Rim de Kroon, Windmill Film, 2020. 

NL (DE, EN) Het Wad. Directed by Ruben Smit, BNNVARA and Ruben Smit Productions, 2020.

Return to Thematic units

Blog at