Historic narratives, myths and human behavior in times of climate change: A review from northern Europe’s coastlands

About this event

This event showcases the recent publication of Dr Kevin Grecksch and Dr Jessica Holzhausen: ‘Historic narratives, myths and human behavior in times of climate change: a review from northern Europe’s coastlands”. The paper gives historic perspective to existing discussions about climate change, places and identity can help us understand why and how these self-perceptions and collective identities have developed and how this could be a barrier or enabler of adaptation measures for climate change!

Event Type: Hybrid***

Time: 16:00 – 17:00 GMT

Venue: Lecture Theatre, School of Geography and the Environment, South Park Roads, OX1 3QY, Oxford

Register for the event here.

***If you wish to join the section virtually, the zoom Link will send to the participants one day prior to the event.

About the paper

Decision-making about climate change is not only shaped by rational considerations, but also influenced by how communities define themselves, by historic or fictional narratives and collective memories.

The paper adds a historical perspective to this discussion and ask how regional collective identities and knowledge shape the perception of climate change. The authors look at coastal communities in northern Europe, which have lived with the threat from the sea for generations. “Deus mare, Frisia litora fecit.”—God created the sea, the Frisians created the coast, a famous quote in Eastern Frisia, shows how important the landscape and the battle against the sea are for a collective identity. They argue that these perceptions can influence the adaptive capacity to climate change positively, if values and collective identities of people are taken into account, or negatively, if people see their values and collective identities not taken into consideration or even threatened.

Link to the paper: Historic narratives, myths and human behavior in times of climate change: A review from northern Europe’s coastlands

Doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.723

About the speakers

Dr Kevin Grecksch

Kevin is Departmental Lecturer and Course Director for the MSc/MPhil in Water Science, Policy and Management in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Kevin is a social scientist who specialises in normative and analytical aspects of governance, especially with regard to water and climate change adaptation. His research interests include (multilevel) environmental governance, water governance, climate change adaptation, governance of societal transformation processes, property rights and the governance of natural resources, sustainability and ecological economics. Kevin has a particular interest why and how power relationships, institutions and knowledge shape the governance of water and climate change. Earlier in 2021 he published a monograph on ‘Drought and water scarcity in the UK: Social science perspectives on governance, knowledge and outreach’ (Palgrave Macmillan).

Dr Jessica Holzhausen

Dr Jessica Holzhausen is a writer, amateur artist and historian researching myths, narratives and fictional re-telling of historic events, especially the impact this had on identity building processes in the 19th and 20th century. She also writes short stories that are often inspired by historic legends and modern myths. Jessica Holzhausen currently lives and works in Oxford, UK, where she also teaches German and creative writing. www.jessicaholzhausen.com

This event is organised by the Oxford Water Network.


Feb 16 2022


16:00 - 17:00

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Lecture Theatre, School of Geography and the Environment
South Parks Road, OX1 3QY, Oxford
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