Literature and the Wadden Sea

Thematic units

The thematic units below can form the basis for block- or semester-long courses in different departments, including but not limited to Danish, German, Dutch or comparative literature. Educators may choose a single unit and expand on it to use it as a full course, or they may use it in a wider course on a related topic, such as ecocriticism, or in a course that focuses on multiple sites, including the Wadden Sea. Educators may also choose to combine units, or parts of different units, to form a full course.

Courses based on this website are innovative by default, and are meant to encourage students to respond to environmental challenges that threaten not only the Wadden Sea, but also themselves. Therefore, we encourage educators to think innovatively and creatively about approaching their course design. Many of these units are particularly suitable in combination with creative Assessment, in particular with Small tasks and/or Creative output. Educators may also want to consider case study-based and/or problem-based learning. To find case studies and/or problems that a place, species or community near you faces, and that could form a suitable basis for your course, you may contact a local visitor centre or other public-facing nature or heritage conservation organisation. You can find resources on visitor centres and other organisations on the website of the International Wadden Sea School. If you want to introduce case study-based or problem-based learning in your course, it may be useful to integrate a Field trip in the course. Using these innovative teaching methods may also help convince faculties or departments of their own usefulness and urgency.

For any course on literature and the Wadden Sea, it may be useful to start the course with a brief introduction to the field of ecocriticism, and to introduce the academic debate on the dichotomy between nature and culture that still exists in much public perception surrounding the Wadden Sea, and the push to move beyond it.  

Suggested secondary readings:

Buell, Lawrence. “Introduction” from The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press, 1995. 1-27.

Döring, Martin, Cormac Walsh and Linde Egberts. “Beyond nature and culture: relational perspectives on the Wadden Sea Landscape.” Maritime Studies. 20 (2021): 225-234.

Egberts, Linde and Meindert Schroor, eds. Waddenland Outstanding: History, Landscape and Cultural Heritage of the Wadden Sea Region. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018.

Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. London: Routledge, 2004.

Glotfelty, Cheryll. “Introduction: Literary Studies in an Age of Environmental Crisis.” The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996. xv-xxxvii.

Reise, Karsten. “On the Origin of the Wadden Sea,” “Invited to Drown,” “Beginning of a New Wadden Alliance?” “How Natural Is Wadden Nature?” and “What does the Future Hold for the Wadden Sea?” A Natural History of the Wadden Sea: Riddled by Contingencies. Leeuwarden and Wilhelmshaven: Waddenacademie and Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, 2013. 34-41, 42-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79.

Renes, Hans. “The Wadden Sea Region as a Cultural Landscape: History, Heritage, Management..” Waddenland Outstanding: History, Landscape and Cultural Heritage of the Wadden Sea Region. Eds. Linde Egberts and Meindert Schroor. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018. 45-64.

Schroor, Meindert. “Waddenland: Concoction or Reality? Defining the Wadden Sea Region in a Geographical and Historical Context.” Waddenland Outstanding: History, Landscape and Cultural Heritage of the Wadden Sea Region. Eds. Linde Egberts and Meindert Schroor. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018. 31-44.

Trexler, Adam. Anthropocene Fictions: The Novel in a Time of Climate Change. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015.

Williams, Raymond. “Ideas of Nature.” Problems in Materialism and Culture: Selected Essays. London: Verso, 1980.

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