Discussion – Natural Science
A hot-button issue around the world is climate change. Although most scientists agree that climate change exists and are the result of human activity, debates about this issue remain heated and polarized. In the arenas of politics, media, and public opinion, it seems that the “sides” of the issue are based more on contrasting belief systems and assumptions than on scientific evidence. Before participating in this discussion, make sure you read the module resources. You should include examples and other supporting evidence from the module resources in your posts.
Discussing challenges that face our world often means investigating opinions and ideas different from your own. Remember to remain thoughtful and respectful towards your peers and instructor in your discussion post and replies.
Create one initial post and follow up with at least two response posts.
For your initial post, address the following:
How might the way climate change is discussed in the media and by politicians influence climate change research and funding for that research?
How can bias, beliefs, assumptions, and values influence what we know and how we approach contemporary global issues related to the natural sciences?
“The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare is a complex play that offers many topics for students of literature to explore. Here are a few potential topics with examples and references:
The portrayal of Shylock: One of the most controversial characters in the play is Shylock, a Jewish moneylender who seeks revenge on the Christian merchant Antonio. Some argue that Shakespeare’s portrayal of Shylock is anti-Semitic, while others argue that it is a nuanced and sympathetic depiction of a complex character. Examples of essays on this topic include “Shakespeare and the Jews” by James Shapiro (reference 1), “Shylock, the Jew: A Character Analysis” by John Ruszkiewicz (reference 2), and “Shylock’s Nation” by Harold Bloom (reference 3).
The theme of justice: The play explores the concept of justice, both in the legal sense and in terms of moral and ethical obligations. Antonio is punished for defaulting on his loan to Shylock, while Shylock is punished for seeking revenge against Antonio. Some argue that the play upholds traditional notions of justice, while others argue that it subverts them. Examples of essays on this topic include “The Merchant of Venice and the Possibilities of Historical Criticism” by Michael Bristol (reference 4), “The Merchant of Venice: Shakespeare’s Response to Justice” by Michael J. Strachan (reference 5), and “Portia’s Rings: Legal Realism in The Merchant of Venice” by Richard H. Weisberg (reference 6).
The role of women: The play features two prominent female characters, Portia and Jessica, who both challenge traditional gender roles in different ways. Portia disguises herself as a man to defend Antonio in court, while Jessica elopes with Lorenzo and converts to Christianity. Essays on this topic might examine how the play portrays women’s agency and autonomy, as well as the limitations placed on them by patriarchal society. Examples of essays on this topic include “The Role of Women in the Renaissance” by Michelle LeMaster (reference 7), “Portia’s Ring and the Drama of Self-Determination” by Katharine Eisaman Maus (reference 8), and “Jessica’s Abduction and Portia’s Wedding: Reconsidering The Merchant of Venice” by Dympna Callaghan (reference 9).
Shapiro, James. “Shakespeare and the Jews.” Columbia University Press, 1996.
Ruszkiewicz, John. “Shylock, the Jew: A Character Analysis.” The Merchant of Venice: Critical Essays, edited by John W. Mahon and Ellen Macleod Mahon, Routledge, 2015, pp. 45-58.
Bloom, Harold. “Shylock’s Nation.” Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, Riverhead Books, 1998, pp. 608-626.
Bristol, Michael. “The Merchant of Venice and the Possibilities of Historical Criticism.” Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 45, no. 3, 1994, pp. 257-270.
Strachan, Michael J. “The Merchant of Venice: Shakespeare’s Response to Justice.” Journal of Legal History, vol. 35, no. 1, 2014, pp. 50-67.
Weisberg, Richard H. “Portia’s Rings: Legal Realism in The Merchant of Venice.” Law and Literature, vol. 22, no. 3, 2010, pp. 352-369.
LeMaster, Michelle. “The Role of Women in the Renaissance.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2018.
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