Simon Richter

Simon richter headshot

Faculty Advisory Board MemberClass of 1942 Endowed Term Professor of GermanDepartment Chair, Germanic Languages and Literatures

Simon Richter is Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and member of the Graduate Groups in Comparative Literature and Religious Studies, fellow of the Institute of Urban Reserach, and affiliated with the Programs in Cinema Studies, Environmental Humanities, and Women’s Studies.

Richter is currently involved with the long term research project, Floating/Sinking: A Cultural Phenomenology of Coastal Urban Resilience and Adaptation in the Era of Sea Level Rise. This project focuses on Dutch responses to sea level rise in an intercultural context with a focus on the Netherlands, the United States, and Indonesia. Dutch prowess in water management is legendary and the Netherlands is a major international player in developing innovative solutions for dealing with high water in coastal cities around the world. “The Dutch approach” combines engineering, design and urban development with a commitment to an inclusive, location-specific, ecologically sound planning process. What makes New York City, Jakarta and Semarang additionally interesting is that colonial and post-colonial factors also come into play.

Research Interests

cultural history of water management and forestry, climate adaptation, energy transitions, 18th-century literature, gender studies, cultural studies, cinema studies, history of the body, environmental humanities, 20th-century history novel, Dutch literature and culture


Member of Graduate Group in Comparative Literature, Affiliate Faculty Member in Cinema and Media Studies; Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies; and the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, Faculty Fellow at the Penn Insititute for Urban Research and Perry World House.