Insularity: Culture, Literature and History

At the dawn of the XXI Century, amidst the technological and media democratization process to better disseminate and cement knowledge, it becomes relevant to design and undertake an ambitious project that researches, gathers, updates and enhances, in a systematic and complete fashion, all the historical, social and cultural heritage of the insular region of Madeira.

Being deeply rooted in the insular cultures’ idiosyncrasies, this project aims to make known to younger generations what has made Madeira unique as far as human creation goes, be it in Portuguese or in other languages (e.g. English and Spanish, which convey a large portion of the international culture). This project aspires to make known what has made this specific archipelago particularly interesting to the Portuguese and the world history, due to its geographic features and human traits.

We aim to update, summarize, enhance, understand and disseminate all the accumulated knowledge on Madeira, from a contemporary perspective, bearing in mind both scientific accuracy and an educational angle.  It is with the spirit of those scholars and writers who, like Fernando Augusto Silva and Eduardo Pereira, have throughout centuries researched and written on Madeira that we board this project.

This project will mobilize efforts to revisit national and international archives, including those less renowned, where information and new forms of interpretation can be found and added to what is currently known in terms of history, culture, society, and science of the so-called “Zarco Islands”.

In order to do this, an interdisciplinary, international and multigenerational team of researchers and specialists will be assembled. This team shall be focused on matters concerning Madeira and its members will have studied it from various perspectives, covering many different subjects (History, Education Sciences, Information Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Marine Sciences, Geography, etc.).

The project will be developed within a five year plan, resulting in the publishing of the New Illustrated Critical History of Madeira and the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Madeira, which will have a hard copy edition and its digital counterpart, thus putting to good use new publishing techniques, as well as new teaching and knowledge dissemination methods. This will place Madeira in the forefront when it comes to producing cutting edge science that serves the general public. This scientific work will ideally become a reference and a source of inspiration for other areas, namely for the tourism industry and for training purposes.

Considering these essential scientific elements, the team responsible for researching, writing and publishing will also prepare other complementary scientific projects, such as documentaries, educational manuals (which can be used in all school levels) and critical anthologies of texts meant for universities.