by Cormac Walsh & Martin Döring
Sunrise on Schiermonnikoog, Dutch Wadden Sea. (Photo C. Walsh)
Proposed Panel Title: Beyond Nature and Culture: Relational perspectives on the Wadden Sea landscape
Panel Convenors: Dr. Cormac Walsh & Dr. Martin Döring (University of Hamburg)
The Wadden Sea constitutes a dynamic intertidal coastal landscape, reaching from Den Helder in the Netherlands, along the German North Sea coast to Blavands Huk in southwestern Denmark. This coastal landscape has been shaped over a period of a thousand years or more by dyke-building, land reclamation and drainage practices as well as periodic storm flood events producing a material and symbolically powerful boundary between the land and the sea. Today the intertidal landscape in front of the dykes is recognised as a unique, ecologically rich and diverse ecosystem of outstanding natural value with the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Wadden Sea landscape nevertheless remains a contested landscape imbued with regionally specific cultural values and meanings which serve to challenge the conservationist myth of the Wadden Sea as pure and pristine nature. Against this background, this panel proposes to bring together relational perspectives which seek to transcend the nature-culture divide at the Wadden Sea and offer novel ways of thinking nature and culture together.
In particular we hope to examine and critically reflect on the following aspects:
- The interrelationships between natural and cultural heritage at the Wadden Sea;
- innovative approaches to transcending the ‘hard boundary’ of nature and culture in the Wadden Sea landscape;
- cross-comparative perspectives on the cultural meanings of nature and landscape at the Dutch, German and Danish Wadden Sea coasts;
- possible Wadden Sea futures drawing on its rich history of nature-culture interactions;
- challenges of bringing together multiple ways of knowing the Wadden Sea landscape.
Please submit a title and abstract (max 300 words) to cormac.walsh(at)uni-hamburg.de and doering(at)metaphorik.de by 20th December 2018.
Suggested readings / Key References:
- Döring, M. & Ratter, B. (2018). Coastal landscapes: The relevance of researching coastscapes for managing coastal change in North Frisia. Area 50, 169-176.
- Egberts, L. (2018). Moving Beyond the Hard Boundary: Overcoming the nature-culture divide in the Dutch Wadden Sea area, Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development.
- Egberts, L. & Schroor, M. (Eds) (2018). Waddenland Outstanding: History, Landscape and Cultural Heritage of the Wadden Sea Region, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
- Krauss, W., (2005). The natural and cultural landscape heritage of Northern Friesland. Int. J. Herit. Stud. 11, 39–52.
- Reise, K., 2014. A Natural History of the Wadden Sea: Riddled by Contingencies, Wilhelmshaven Common Wadden Sea Secretariat.
- Walsh, C. (2018). Metageographies of coastal management: negotiating spaces of nature and culture at the Wadden Sea. Area 50 (2), 177-185.
- Wöbse, A.-K., (2017). Space, Place, Land and Sea: The Ecological ‘Discovery’ of the Global Wadden Sea. In: de Bont, R., Lachmund, L. (Eds.), Spatialiszing the History of Ecology: Sites, Journeys, Mappings. Routledge, London/New York, pp. 204–222.
by Cormac Walsh
On 19th October 2009, an interdisciplinary conference on dyke history and dyke research took place in Stade, a small town in the Elbe marshlands, to the northwest of Hamburg. The conference was organised by the landscape association of the former duchies of Bremen and Werden (Landschaftsverband der ehemaligen Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden e.V.). Over a period of eighteen years the landscape association had commissioned a detailed historical study of the dykes of the Elbe and Weser river landscapes which has been published between 2003 an 2008 in the eight volumes by historians Michael Erhardt and Norbert Fischer.
The front cover of the most recent book of the series “Geschichte der Deiche an Elbe und Weser” (Source: Landschaftsverband Stade).
by Vera Köpsel
In the autumn of 2015, my interviewee John* and I were standing on a rise at the Atlantic coast of Cornwall (UK) and facing the stormy weather. Storms are common in Cornwall, yet the high frequency of extreme events has begun irritating the locals. John yelled over the crashing waves, “Do you see the steps over there? They used to lead down to the beach, but they were washed away by the waves. Now there are only fifty centimeters to the cliff edge. Not long and the access road will erode into the sea.”
Eroded beach access, Godrevy, Cornwall. (C) Vera Köpsel
by Cormac Walsh
On September 20th, the Institute for Geography, University of Hamburg will host a panel discussion on “Landscape Imaginaries between Aesthetics and Ecology” with Marco Brodde (Danish Wadden Sea National Park) and Dr. Martin Stock (Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park).
by Cormac Walsh & Martin Döring
Coasts are gaining increased attention worldwide as sites of dramatic and disruptive environmental change. Coastal settlements and ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise (Moser et al 2012). Exploitation of marine resources also contributes to coastal change, resulting in subsidence or loss of land at coastal locations, including at Louisiana and the Dutch Wadden Sea (Wernick 2014, Neslen 2017). Despite the evident interweaving of the natural and the social, the ecological, and the political at the coast, coastal geography has long been firmly positioned within the domain of physical geography with comparatively little input from human geographers. Indeed within the social sciences more generally, coastal and marine spaces have tended to be marginalised in favour of land-based narratives of societal development (e.g. Gillis 2012, Peters et al. 2018).
by Owain Jones
The Tidal Cultures blog was started as part of a UK – Dutch research project conducted from 2012-2015. This was the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Humanities Research Networking and Exchange Scheme; “Between the Tides”: Comparative arts and humanities approaches to living with(in) intertidal landscapes in UK & the Netherlands. Learning from those who live and work with complexity, change and fragility’: Dr Owain Jones; Countryside and Community Institute; and Dr. Bettina van Hoven, Department of Cultural Geography, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen.
Severn Bridge, circa 1979 (c) Owain Jones.