The course ´In Search of the Occident: the Azores´ concentrates on two themes.
- The concept of Europe: Europe is the western part of the Eurasian continent, comparable to the the Indochinese peninsula in the south-east. From this perspective the Mid-Atlantic ridge can be seen as the geographical border of this (sub-)continent. The Azores and Iceland are surface manifestations of this 'edge': Europe ends here.
- The 'urge to the west' in Europe: the Atlantic as a barrier and a challenge. In (European) history there is a thread of trying to reach the 'evening land'. There may be an urge to 'follow the sun', to pass 'the pillars', 'plus ultra'.
During the course (literary) manifestations of this theme will be studied. Both aspects will give an opening to the Azores' unique geographical and cultural heritage: landscape and volcanoes; discoveries, colonisation and migration; whale hunting and fishing; ecology and the oceans as part of our world. In short: the course will be traveling through the four elements: fire creating the archipelago (volcanoes and earth), water being the birth of the archipelago and of all life, air/wind: man sailing into the unknown land: discoveries and whale hunting.