Don't get bogged down in details! Here is a recreation of my thought process, as well as a cleaned-up version of my notes--I can't make symbols here, so I've rewritten those symbols as words; that makes the text look a bit longer.
Yours may look quite different-- the important things are to pay close attention to the beginning of the passage (to get the main premise clearly) then read the rest of the passage for big ideas and structure (since you'll have to come back to these parts later for specific detail questions anyway). Remember to perk up any time you come across those structure/red-flag words-- they are you lifelines in a passage this dense.
Also, I don't have an answer key for this passage, and you only listed one answer in your spoiler (without a q number), so let me know if I've missed any. My answers are the answers I would have chosen, not the official answers.
The great migration of European intellectuals to the United States in the second quarter of the twentieth century prompted a transformation in the character of Western social thought. (This sounds like a main-idea type sentence, right off the bat. Will the passage fulfill that expectation?)
The influx of Continental thinkers fleeing fascist regimes had a great impact on American academic circles (Yup...European thinkers fleeing-> big impact on US)
, leading to new developments in such diverse fields as linguistics and theology (and this fleeing->new dev). But (Ah, a switch, pay attention!)
the greatest impact (yup, a superlative, pay even more attention)
was on the emigrés themselves. (GREATEST impact is on emigres, not on fields.)
This “migration experience” led expatriates to reexamine the supposedly self-evident premises inherited from the Continental intellectual tradition. (taking another look at previous self-evident)
The result, according to H. Stuart Hughes in The Sea-Change, was an increased sophistication and deprovincialization in social theory. (Ahh, or is THIS actually the main idea? it's a more specific version of the first sentence...let's see where the passage goes)My notes from P1:
mig of euro to US (later 20th cent) transformed west. so-thought.
fleeing facism-> impact US academia->new dev (ex ling & theo)
BUT GREATEST was "mig. exp."->emigres relook at what used to be self-evid.--> inc. soph. & deprovince in soc-theory (HUGHES)
One problem (OK this may be a paragraph listing problems...don't get bogged down in details)
facing newly arrived emigrés in the U.S. was the spirit of anti-intellectualism in much of the country. (One prob=anti-intell)
The empirical orientation of American academic circles, moreover, (ANOTHER problem!)
led to the conscious tempering by many European thinkers of their own tendencies toward speculative idealism. In addition, (Another problem!)
reports of oppression in Europe shook many Old World intellectuals from a stance of moral isolation. Many great European social theorists had regarded their work as separate from all moral considerations. The migration experience proved to many intellectuals of the following generations that such notions of moral seclusion were unrealistic, even irresponsible. (a CLAIM about result of a problem--star this)Notes for P2
One problem=anti-intell in US
Another= US empir->tempering of Euro's idealism
Another=reports of Euro opp->shake from moral iso.
MANY had thought work SEP from moral, but now proved moral secl unreal/irresponsible*
This transformation of social thought is perhaps best (RED FLAG word!)
exemplified in the career of the German theologian Paul Tillich. (Tillich=BEST example)
Migration confronted Tillich with an ideological as well as a cultural dichotomy. (T was split)
Hughes points out that Tillich’s thought was “suspended between philosophy and theology, Marxism and political conformity, theism and disbelief.” (Tillich suspended between poles...don't get bogged down in details!)
Comparable to the fusion by other expatriate intellectuals of their own idealist traditions with the Anglo-American empiricist tradition (author is explaining how T is exemplary)
was Tillich’s synthesis of German Romantic religiosity with the existentialism born of the twentieth-century war experience. (religious vs existentialism poles)
Tillich’s basic goal, according to Hughes, was to move secular individuals by making religious symbols more accessible to them. Forced to make his ethical orientation explicit in the context of American attitudes, Tillich avoided the esoteric academic posture of many Old World scholars, and was able to find a wide and sympathetic audience for his sometimes difficult theology.(compares T to Old World, so this may be important)
In this way, his experience in America, in his own words, “deprovincialized” his thought. (Back to the beginning of the passage-- reinforces that last sentence of first paragraph as main idea)P3 notes
BEST EXEMPLIFIED by theo. Tillich (dichotomies from migrating)
Hughes: sus between poles...EXs
Comp to other expats, T synth'd relig w/existen.
Hughes: T's wanted to move sec peeps by making relgious accessible
T therefore had WIDE& SYMP aud.
Migration DEPROVINCIALIZED T's thought
After taking all those notes, it's good to check in again about what the main idea was-- it seems to be a combo of the first and last sentences of the first paragraph: The late 20th century migration of european intellectuals to the US transformed social thought, making it more sophisticated and less provincial. I didn't rewrite this; I just made sure that those parts were underlined in that first paragraph.
Total time to read and take notes: 4 min 12 seconds
(A) psg is not about US HISTORY--Eliminate
(B) T's career was not representative of migration experience as a whole, but migration of intellectuals and the effect of that migration on social thought--Eliminate
(C) Nice and general (but maybe too general?)--hold for now
(D) At first glance seems possible, but the passage is specifically about the period of transformation--"post-migration thought" includes ALL thought from the migration to the present day--Eliminate
(E) Again, we care about a very specific period of time--this choice is too broad--Eliminate
Do a quick check again of C-- still seems good (although it's missing the higher degree of specificity we'd like, all the other choices are concretely wrong; sometimes these general questions are just that-- really general)Answer: C
Time: 58 sec
A specific questions--Hughes is mentioned a lot here, as I can see from my notes. I can also see from my notes that the highlighted part of the passage cites Hughes wihle pointing out a claim (migration->increased sophistication)
(A) No, we don't know anything about Hughes' migration status. He talked about Tillich, who was an emigre--they want us to confuse the two! -- Eliminate
(B) He is cited, and seems to be an authority. Is he "important?" Not sure, but let's hold it for now.
(C) No-- the influence happening with regard to Hughes is the influence on Tillich--Eliminate
(D) "Pay tribute?" And did Hughes provide anyone refuge? Nope--Eliminate
(E) Hughes certainly discusses Tillich, but is he a "leading disciple?" Studying someone and agreeing w/him or her are different things--Eliminate
B's looking pretty good. What about that "importance" question? Well the fact that the author cites him repeatedly in the passage leads us to believe that he at least respects him, and has *some* kind of weight. Since all the other choices have concrete errors let's go with this.Answer: B
Time: 36 seconds.
Another specific question. The highlighted portion is in the second paragraph--the one that lists all the problems migrating intellectuals faced. Remember that place we starred? This is it! The notes from that part were:Another=reports of Euro opp->shake from moral iso.
MANY had thought work SEP from moral, but now proved moral secl unreal/irresponsible*
(A) Yup, if previous moral seclusion was "irresponsible," then the oppression certainly did make them rethink their moral responsibilities--hold onto this one
(B) Everything is great about this choice except the LAST word-- we are not talking about leaders here--Eliminate
(C) On morality in general? All kinds? For all people? Too broad--Eliminate
(D) They weren't anti-social, they were just naive. This choice goes too far--Eliminate
(E) The passage doesn't talk about the JUSTIFYING the moral value of social thought, just rethinking what that value was--EliminateAnswer: A
Time: 39 seconds
The whole passage is about the change that happened in social thought during the migration, but since this is an INFERENCE question we have to be extra careful to back up our answer with concrete evidence.
(A) Where does the author talk about secularity? In the third paragraph, when Tillich (as comparable to other expatriate intellectuals) is described as fusing religion with existentialism. But while Tillich and religion are discussed together, "other expatriate intellecturals" fused "their own idealist traditions"-- not necessarily religion. Eliminate
(B) This is tempting, especially in light of our answer to question 16. But is moral responsibility the same thing as social consciousness? Possibly. Hold onto this one
(C) Tillich's theology was "sometimes difficult" but that doesn't mean postmigration social thought's theology in general was more or less difficult than pre-migration theology--Eliminate
(D) Nope, Tillich's work had a wide audience but we don't know about the accessibility postmigration social thought in general-- Eliminate.
(E) What would "more theoretical" mean? The opposite of that would be practical, and the passage suggests that post-migration social theory was more morally complicated due to the real consequences of previous thought (P2), and Tillich "avoided esoteric academic posture of many Old World scholars"--Eliminate
(B) is a little bit of a leap in vocabulary, but the smallest one. (I actually did this question very quickly, noticing how many answer choices focused on Tillich rather than the larger category of postmigration social thought, so would be interested to know from the original poster if I'm correct)
Time: 13 sec
Total time for Q: 2min 26 sec
Total time for passage and Q: 6 min 38 seconds
Obviously the level of detail I went into in my explanation is more than I did when initially doing the questions-- but once the basic flaw is spotted, I was able to eliminate choices; I went back and filled in the long-form version that is communicable to others later
Hope this helps-- let me know if I missed any.
JP Park | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | Los Angeles
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