Sunday, 23 January 2022

Gun Island

 Gun Island - Amitav Ghosh


Amitav Ghosh’s latest novel, Gun Island, traces familiar crosscultural patterns evident in his earlier novels. There are journeys by land and water, diaspora and migration, experiences aboard ships, the world of animals and sea-creatures. Ghosh foregrounds environmental issues like climate change and the danger to fish from chemical waste dumped into rivers by factories, concerns that carry over from earlier books like The Hungry Tide and The Great Derangement.

Gun Island describes the quest of Deen, a scholar and collector of rare books, who returns from New York, his city of domicile, to the Sunderbans in West Bengal to unravel the mystery and legend of a seventeenth-century merchant, Bonduki Sada-gar, translated “The Gun Merchant,” and his persecution by Manasa Devi, mythical goddess of snakes. In a talk held in New Delhi after the release of the novel, Ghosh stated that the merchant “was a trope for trade.” The merchant and the goddess dramatize “the conflict between profit and the world.” In the novel, the goddess pursues the merchant to make him aware of other realities like the animal world: “Humans—driven, as was the Merchant, by the quest of profit—would recognize no restraint in relation to other living things.”

We learn that the old Arabic name for Venice was al-Bunduqevya, which is also the name for guns. Deen concludes that the name Bonduki Sadagar did not perhaps mean the Gun Merchant but the Merchant who went to Venice. When Deen travels to Venice to research further on the Gun Merchant, he discovers that many Bangladeshis are being employed as illegal migrant labor. Their hazardous journey across the Middle East and Africa and the strong, even militant opposition to their presence in the city by Italian authorities form a major segment of the second part of the novel, contrasting with the Gun Merchant’s past, prosperous journey to Venice (Rita Joshi - World Literature Today)

Genre: Novel, Cli-fi (Climate Fiction)

Characters and Summary of 'Gun Island

1. Characters and Summary - 1 | Sundarbans | Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh


2. Characters and Summary - 2 | USA | Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh


3. Summary - 3 | Venice | Part 2 of Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh



Thematic Study of 'Gun Island

1. Etymological Mystery | Title of the Novel | Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh


2. Historification of Myth & Mythification of History | Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh


3. Climate Change | The Great Derangement | Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh


4. Migration | Human Trafficking | Refugee Crisis | Gun Island | Amitav Ghosh


Check your understanding: Appear in Online Test


Points to Ponder:

  1. How does this novel develop your understanding of a rather new genre known as 'cli-fi'?
  2. How does Amitav Ghosh use myth of Gun Merchant 'Bonduki Sadagar' and Manasa Devi to initiate discussion on the issue of Climate Change and Migration/Refugee crisis / Human Trafficking?
  3. How does Amitav Ghosh make use of 'etymology' of common words to sustain mystery and suspense in the narrative?
  4. There are many Italian words in the novel. Click here to view the list of words. Have you tried to translate these words into English or Hindi with the help of Google Translate App? If so, how is Machine Translation helping in proper translation of Italian words into English and Hindi?
  5. What are your views on the use of myth and history in the novel Gun Island to draw attention of the reader towards contemporary issues like climate change and migration?
  6. Is there any connection between 'The Great Derangement' and 'Gun Island'? 

Additional Reading resources:

Q & A Session:


Thematic Study

Friday, 7 January 2022

Avoid Plagiarism - Research in Digital Era

 Understanding Unintentional Plagiarism | Research in Digital Era


How do students research in the digital age? (Source: Turnitin)

The Pew report shows that the ease with which information “appears” online allows students to avoid any of the questions that may surface concerning the quality and intent of information they “research.” The Pew survey revealed that only one percent of those surveyed reported as “excellent” the ability of students “to recognize bias in online content.” As for their “ability to assess the quality and accuracy of information they find online,” only three percent reported that they found students to be “excellent.”

This data supports the following insights into student research behavior, specifically:
 
Students appear to value immediacy over quality in online research 
The ease with which “the answer” may be found online places sites such as Wikipedia, homework help sites, answer sites, and other social and content sharing sites to the top in terms of source matches. 
Students often use cheat sites and paper mills as sources 
Less a research competency issue than a moral and ethical one, the significant number of sources that match to cheat sites and paper mills suggest that for students there is a bias towards immediate outcomes and results rather than towards concerted effort to meet assignment goals. 
There is an over reliance on the “wisdom of the crowd” 
Students appear to demonstrate a strong appetite for crowd-sourced content in their research. Though it is not immediately evident why students seek these sources out, the strong reliance on these types of sites indicate difficulty assessing the authority and legitimacy of the content these sources present. 
Student “research” is synonymous with “search” 
The frequent and uninhibited use of sites with limited educational value (as defined by the quality and authority of content) in student work underscores a preference for “searched,” rather than “researched” content. 
Existing student source choices warrant a need for better search skills 
In addition to a preference for immediacy, the popularity of crowd-sourced content online indicates that a majority of students are engaging in cursory or shallow searches for content. At play may be an absence of awareness of how search engines work and how to effectively conduct searches to find appropriate content. What also appears to be absent is the use of criteria (whether internally—or externally—defined) to judge that content.

Evaluating Online Sources

The Source Educational Evaluation Rubric (SEER) represents the evolution of the critical approach that Turnitin has adopted and used to categorize websites in our analysis of student sources. The rubric was designed by academic experts and used by secondary and higher education educators who field-tested the rubric by using it to evaluate over 300 of the most popular student sources (which will be shared in a follow-up white paper.). 
The rubric is built on five criteria: 
Authority: Is the site well regarded, cited, and written by experts in the field? 
Educational Value: Does the site content help advance educational goals? 
Intent: Is the site a well-respected source of content intended to inform users? 
Originality: Is the site a source of original content and viewpoints? 
Quality: Is the site highly vetted with good coverage of the topical area? 

These criteria are evaluated along a numerical scale anchored by an explicit call out to “credibility,” a move to make the scores more informative for students. 

Instructors and students who use SEER can quickly arrive at an easy-to-interpret score based on the commonly used 4.0 grade point scale. By adding up all criteria values and dividing by five, users will generate a readily-understandable grade for sources. If so desired, the weighting of the criteria can also be adjusted to reflect varying evaluation-directed objectives (see the accompanying SEER Worksheet in the appendix). 
• 3.0 - 4.0: highly credible, quality sources 
• 2.0 – 3.0: credible sources 
• 1.0 – 2.0: questionable sources 
• 0.0 – 1.0: unacceptable or inappropriate sources 

The rubric, in its entirety, appears below. Following the rubric are a few examples of sites and how instructors have scored them. 

Downloads