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Shih-pei Kuo

Abstract

This essay borrows Žižek’s interpretation of racism which combines the Marxist and psychoanalytic perspectives to read Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. I argue that Shylock, the Jewish usurer, embodies both the structural contradiction of capitalism and the social contradiction which characterizes the Venetian setting torn by capitalism and Christianity. As Shylock exposes these contradictions which the Christian Venetians refuse to confront, he is destined to be a scapegoat. From the Marxist point of view, the survival of capitalism relies on incessant production, which also means incessant investment of capital. Therefore, an active financial system is requisite to sustain the prosperity of capitalism. Paradoxically, this necessary condition of capitalism which facilitates the maximum use of cash is also its inherent vulnerability: once the circulation of cash is disrupted, it can lead to the crisis of the overall domino-effect collapse. The usury represented by Shylock indeed reflects such inherent contradiction of capitalism. Also, usury, which excludes any human factor and only engages the direct monetary exchange, also contradicts the Christian orthodox belief of generosity and unrequited devotion. These central Christian values are certainly questioned as Bassanio’s courtship of Portia, based on his disguised wealth, is indistinguishable from a profitable enterprise. From the psychoanalytic point of view, Shylock’s fascination with money and revenge also mirrors the Christians’ clandestine longing for these two forbidden enjoyments. However, what is more puzzling and hostile to the Christians is Shylock’s paranoid insistence on bloody revenge beyond the concern of monetary gains, “che vuoi,” an unexplainable desire of the other. Therefore, Shylock the other must be vanquished, by converting him to Christianity, in other words, by homogenizing him, to disguise the Christians’ problematic of desire.

Open access

Maria Ellison and Álvaro Almeida Santos

Abstract

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), an educational approach in which an additional language is used to teach school subjects, has become increasingly widespread within state schools across Europe since the acronym was coined in the mid-nineties. This now includes Portugal where CLIL activity across educational levels has been growing in recent years. Like other national contexts in Europe, this has also been through the grassroots initiatives of individual schools keen to influence positive change in educational practices and reap the benefits which CLIL is purported to bring about. One such case is the GoCLIL project at Escola Secundária Dr. Joaquim Gomes Ferreira Alves in Valadares, Vila Nova de Gaia, which has been operating a CLIL programme through English since the academic year 2013-2014. This article outlines fundamentals of implementing CLIL in schools and provides an overview of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of the case. It uses data collected from questionnaires administered to teachers, pupils and parents, lesson observations, pupil focus groups, and teacher reflections obtained during the ongoing monitoring process led by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Porto. The data contribute to the rich description of the project from which it has been possible to identify and compare findings across years, as well as factors which have contributed to its sustainability. Insights gained from this case study will be interesting and potentially useful for schools which are considering setting up a project of this kind.

Open access

Kai Li Liu

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