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Donna Haraway's Primate Visions is the most ambitious book

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Donna Haraway's Primate Visions is the most ambitious book [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2005, 18:10
Donna Haraway's Primate Visions is the most ambitious book on the history of science yet written from a feminist perspective, embracing not only the scientific construction of gender but also the interplay of race, class, and colonial and postcolonial culture with the "Western" construction of the very concept of nature itself. Primatology is a particularly apt vehicle for such themes because primates seem so much like ourselves that they provide ready material for scientists' conscious and and unconscious projections of their beliefs about nature and culture.

Haraway's most radical departure is to challenge the traditional disjunction between the active knower (scientist/historian) and the passive object (nature/history). In Haraway's view, the desire to understand nature, wehether in order to tame it or to preserve it as a place of wild innocence, is based on troublingly masculinist and colonialist view of nature as an entity distinct from us and subject to our control. She argues that it is a view that is no longer politically, ecologically, or even scientifically viable. She proposes an approach that not only recognizes diverse human actors (scientists, governments officials, laborers, science fiction writers) as contributing to our knowledge of nature, but that also recognizes the creatures usually subsumed under nature (such as primates) as active participants in creating that knowledge as well. Finally, she insists that the prespectives afforded by these different agents cannot be reduced to a single, coherent reality--there are necessarily only multiple, interlinked, partial realities.

This iconoclastic view is reflected in Haraway's unorthodox writing style. Haraway does not weave the many different elements of her work into one unified, overarching Stroy of Primatology; they remain distinct voices that will not succumb to a master narrative. This fragmented approach to historiography is famaliar enough in historiographical theorizing but has rarely been put into practice by historians of science. It presents a complex alternative to traditional history, whether strictly narrative or narrative with emphasis on a causal argument.

Haraway is equally innovative in the way she incorporates broad cultural issues into her analysis. Despite decades of rhetoric from historians of science about the need to unite issues deemed "internal" to science (scientific theory and practice) and those considered "external" to it (social issues, structures, and beliefs), that dichotomy has proven difficult to set aside. Haraway simply ignores it. The many readers in whom this separation is deeply ingrained may find her discussions of such popular sources as science fiction, movies, and television distracing, and her statements concerning such issues as nuclear war bewildering and digressive. To accept her approach one must shed a great many assumptions about what properly belongs to the study of science.


13) The passage is primarily concerned with discussing which one of the following?

A) the roles played by gender and class in Western science in general, and in the field of primatology in particular.
B) Two different methods of writing the history of science.
C) The content and style of proposal to reform the scientific approach to nature.
D) the theoritical bases and the cultural assumptions underlying a recent book on the history of women in science.
E) the effect of theoretical positions on writing styles in books on the history of science.

18) Which one of the following best exemplifies the type of "traditional history" mentioned in line 40 of the passage?

A) a choronological recounting of the life and work of Marie Curie, with special attention paid to the circumstances that led to her discovery of radium
B) a television series that dramatizes one scientist's prediction about human life in the twenty-second century
C) the transcript of a series of conversations among several scientists of radically opposing philosophies, in which no resolution or conclusion in reached.
D) a newspaper editiorial written by a scientist trying to arouse support for a certain project by detailing the pratical benefits to be gained from it.
E) detailed mathematical notes recording the precise data gathered from a laboratory experiment.
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Re: RC - Primate Visions [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2005, 08:01
17) E - the whole passage seems to talks about the way ppl perceive the history of science and the varying styles it is presented.

18)A - the author says, earlier there was a narrative style and social and scientific issues were not married properly, in this "chronology" suggest the first , and " a special mention only of the circumstances leading to the discovery" suggests the second.

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 [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2005, 11:31
Bumping up this thread for more participation.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2005, 11:57
E and C (there is no story to what Harway says...it is kind of a fragmented approach)
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Jun 2005, 05:10
Bumping up this thread again. Super would you care to take a stab at this?
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Re: RC - Primate Visions [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2005, 11:56
gmataquaguy wrote:

Haraway's most radical departure is to challenge the traditional disjunction between the active knower (scientist/historian) and the passive object (nature/history). In Haraway's view, the desire to understand nature, wehether in order to tame it or to preserve it as a place of wild innocence, is based on troublingly masculinist and colonialist view of nature as an entity distinct from us and subject to our control. She argues that it is a view that is no longer politically, ecologically, or even scientifically viable. She proposes an approach....


13) The passage is primarily concerned with discussing which one of the following?

C) The content and style of a proposal to reform the scientific approach to nature.
D) the theoritical bases and the cultural assumptions underlying a recent book on the history of women in science.



Well, I admit I have the most difficulty with these annoying "feminist social studies" passages, because the whole field is such idiotic pseudoscience, it's painful to read these passages. But I'll give it a try.

For # 13, I'd say (C). D was tempting, but the book being reviewed appears not to be about "women in science" at all. It's about the scientific study of apes.

Looking at the key passages in bold above, the book is a critique of a traditional approach to science, and it proposes an alternate approach instead. So in other words, it is indeed "proposal to reform the scientific approach to nature." hence, (C).
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Re: RC - Primate Visions [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2005, 12:12
gmataquaguy wrote:

This iconoclastic view is reflected in Haraway's unorthodox writing style. Haraway does not weave the many different elements of her work into one unified, overarching Story of Primatology; they remain distinct voices that will not succumb to a master narrative. This fragmented approach to historiography is famaliar enough in historiographical theorizing but has rarely been put into practice by historians of science. It presents a complex alternative to traditional history, whether strictly narrative or narrative with emphasis on a causal argument.



18) Which one of the following best exemplifies the type of "traditional history" mentioned in line 40 of the passage?

A) a choronological recounting of the life and work of Marie Curie, with special attention paid to the circumstances that led to her discovery of radium
B) a television series that dramatizes one scientist's prediction about human life in the twenty-second century
C) the transcript of a series of conversations among several scientists of radically opposing philosophies, in which no resolution or conclusion in reached.
D) a newspaper editiorial written by a scientist trying to arouse support for a certain project by detailing the pratical benefits to be gained from it.
E) detailed mathematical notes recording the precise data gathered from a laboratory experiment.


#18 must be (A). The passage says that Haraway's book is not written like a tradional history of science. And so question 18 asks, what IS a traditional history of science like, anyway? So the correct choice is the OPPOSITE of this book by Haraway.

Going back to the passage, the lines in bold above show how Haraway's book deviates from a traditional history. Basically the passage says (if you read between the lines) that Haraway is a crappy writer and sloppy thinker who is unable to simply recount history and make her point.

Answer choice (A), then, is an example of just the opposite: a history of science that lays out a historical narrative, and sensibly emphasizes the important parts. Simple and to the point -- the opposite of the scientific gem that Haraway cranked out.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2005, 18:30
C and A.

OA is...?
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2005, 18:34
13) C
18) A
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2005, 20:44
13 B) Two different methods of writing the history of science.

It is not about 'study of nature' or 'study of primates'.

The passages are talking about two ways to write 'history of science'.
Donna Haraway aparently is taking a 'non-traditional' approach.
Therefore her way/style was compared with the traditional way
throughout the passages.

As for the study of primate, it just happens to be the field that
Donna Haraway writes about. That is why her work can be compared
with other examples of traditional history of science (as in question 18)



18 A )
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Jun 2005, 13:37
Quite a tough one. I would say that this is similar to the toughest RC you could get on the test.

13-E --» In the second paragraph, Donna Haraway proposes an approach that not only recognizes diverse human actors but that also the creatures under nature as active contributors to knowledge as well. This is a style which calls for the existence of multiple, interlinked, partial realities. The third paragraph suggests a fragmented approach style to history. Finally, the last paragraph says how Donna Haraway's writing style ignores the separation between "internal" and "external" issues to science. All of the above sum up to the impact that Donna Haraway has on the history of science because of her unique writing style.
A) this does not encompass the overall message conveyed by the passage. It is only part of the first paragraph.
B) not this either. The general idea is not about comparing two methods. Instead, it is a description of Donna Haraway's writing styles
C) A reform of the scientific approach to nature is certainly not the goal of the passage. Nowhere in the excerpt do we find any such contention.
D) The passage is not about the history of women but about the history science from a feminist perspective.

18-A

Quote:
traditional history, whether strictly narrative or narrative with emphasis on a causal argument


This gives away the answer.
a choronological recounting of the life and work of Marie Curie --» narrative
special attention paid to the circumstances that led to her discovery of radium --» causal argument
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Jun 2005, 17:12
OA's are C, A.
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 [#permalink] New post 23 Jun 2005, 00:57
Just read supercat's explanation for 13-C. Great! :good
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  [#permalink] 23 Jun 2005, 00:57
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