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Historians who study European women of the Renaissance try to measure

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The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2019

Practice Question
Question No.: RC 71 ~ 75

Historians who study European women of the Renaissance try to measure “independence,” “options,” and other indicators of the degree to which the expression of women’s individuality was either permitted or suppressed. Influenced by Western individualism, these historians define peculiar form of personhood: an innately bounded unit, autonomous and standing apart from both nature and society. An anthropologist, however, would contend that a person can be conceived in ways other than as an “individual.” In many societies a person’s identity is not intrinsically unique and self-contained but instead is defined within a complex web of social relationships.

In her study of the fifteenth-century Florentine widow Alessandra Strozzi, a historian who specializes in European women of the Renaissance attributes individual intention and authorship of actions to her subject. This historian assumes that Alessandra had goals and interests different from those of her sons, yet much of the historian’s own research reveals that Alessandra acted primarily as a champion of her sons’ interests, taking their goals as her own. Thus Alessandra conforms more closely to the anthropologist’s notion that personal motivation is embedded in a social context. Indeed, one could argue that Alessandra did not distinguish her personhood from that of her sons. In Renaissance Europe the boundaries of the conceptual self were not always firm and closed and did not necessarily coincide with the boundaries of the bodily self.
Questions 71–75 refer to the passage.
RC00097-02


71. According to the passage, much of the research on Alessandra Strozzi done by the historian mentioned in the second paragraph supports which of the following conclusions?

(A) Alessandra used her position as her sons' sole guardian to further interests different from those of her sons.
(B) Alessandra unwillingly sacrificed her own interests in favor of those of her sons.
(C) Alessandra's actions indicate that her motivations and intentions were those of an independent individual.
(D) Alessandra's social context encouraged her to take independent action.
(E) Alessandra regarded her sons' goals and interests as her own.

RC00097-03


72. In the first paragraph, the author of the passage mentions a contention that would be made by an anthropologist most likely in order to

(A) present a theory that will be undermined in the discussion of a historian's study later in the passage
(B) offer a perspective on the concept of personhood that can usefully be applied to the study of women in Renaissance Europe
(C) undermine the view that the individuality of European women of the Renaissance was largely suppressed
(D) argue that anthropologists have applied the Western concept of individualism in their research
(E) lay the groundwork for the conclusion that Alessandra's is a unique case among European women of the Renaissance whose lives have been studied by historians

RC00097-04


73. The passage suggests that the historians referred to in line 1 make which of the following assumptions about Renaissance Europe?

(A) That anthropologists overestimate the importance of the individual in Renaissance European society
(B) That in Renaissance Europe, women were typically allowed to express their individuality
(C) That European women of the Renaissance had the possibility of acting independently of the social context in which they lived
(D) That studying an individual such as Alessandra is the best way to draw general conclusions about the lives of women in Renaissance Europe
(E) That people in Renaissance Europe had greater personal autonomy than people do currently

RC00097-05


74. It can be inferred that the author of the passage believes which of the following about the study of Alessandra Strozzi done by the historian mentioned in the second paragraph?

(A) Alessandra was atypical of her time and was therefore an inappropriate choice for the subject of the historian's research.
(B) In order to bolster her thesis, the historian adopted the anthropological perspective on personhood.
(C) The historian argues that the boundaries of the conceptual self were not always firm and closed in Renaissance Europe.
(D) In her study, the historian reverts to a traditional approach that is out of step with the work of other historians of Renaissance Europe.
(E) The interpretation of Alessandra's actions that the historian puts forward is not supported by much of the historian's research.

RC00097-06


75. The passage suggests that the historian mentioned in the second paragraph would be most likely to agree with which of the following assertions regarding Alessandra Strozzi?

(A) Alessandra was able to act more independently than most women of her time because she was a widow.
(B) Alessandra was aware that her personal motivation was embedded in a social context.
(C) Alessandra had goals and interests similar to those of many other widows in her society.
(D) Alessandra is an example of a Renaissance woman who expressed her individuality through independent action.
(E) Alessandra was exceptional because she was able to effect changes in the social constraints placed upon women in her society.



https://muse.jhu.edu/article/363759

Understanding Gender Inequality in Renaissance Florence: Personhood and Gifts of Maternal Inheritance by Women
Thomas Kuehn
Journal of Women's History
Johns Hopkins University Press

Volume 8, Number 2, Summer 1996
p. pp. 58-80



RC00097-02
RC00097-03
RC00097-04
RC00097-05
RC00097-06

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Re: Historians who study European women of the Renaissance try to measure  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2018, 23:47
1. E
2. B
3. C
4. C
5. D

Got 4/5 correct in 10 mins
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New post 08 Aug 2018, 12:06
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Hi , can someone please explain 74th question.

Why is the answer E , why not B?
Thanks you.
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New post 08 Aug 2018, 20:17
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SonGoku wrote:
Hi , can someone please explain 74th question.

Why is the answer E , why not B?
Thanks you.


The question is "It can be inferred that the author of the passage believes which of the following about the study of Alessandra Strozzi done by the historian mentioned in the second paragraph?"

Relevant info from passage

Quote:
This historian assumes that Alessandra had goals and interests different from those of her sons, yet much of the historian’s own research reveals that Alessandra acted primarily as a champion of her sons’ interests, taking their goals as her own. Thus Alessandra conforms more closely to the anthropologist’s notion that personal motivation is embedded in a social context.


Take look at the last line "Thus Alessandra conforms more closely to the anthropologist’s notion" which implies Alessandra's actions doesn't align with most of the historian's research and hence option E.

SonGoku

I don't see how option B can be inferred. Why do you think it is option B ?
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New post 08 Aug 2018, 20:56
SonGoku wrote:
Hi , can someone please explain 74th question.

Why is the answer E , why not B?
Thanks you.



I am not an expert but will try to help you on this.


Read these lines.

"a historian who specializes in European women of the Renaissance attributes individual intention and authorship of actions to her subject. This historian assumes that Alessandra had goals and interests different from those of her sons, yet much of the historian’s own research reveals that Alessandra acted primarily as a champion of her sons’ interests, taking their goals as her own."



(B) In order to bolster her thesis, the historian adopted the anthropological perspective on personhood.

Read this line:-
"a historian who specializes in European women of the Renaissance attributes individual intention and authorship of actions to her subject"

It is nowhere mentioned that the historian adopted the anthropological perspective on personhood. She was trying to use the traditional measure (attributes individual intention and authorship of actions to her subject).

"yet much of the historian’s own research reveals that Alessandra acted primarily as a champion of her sons’ interests, taking their goals as her own"

This line says she ended up doing research on the topic which actually does not supports individuality theory.


(E) The interpretation of Alessandra's actions that the historian puts forward is not supported by much of the historian's research.

This is Bang on as per my explanation.
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New post 03 Oct 2018, 19:17
P1 - women + personhood
P2 - theory of A on same. flaw in it. explained.

71. According to the passage, much of the research on Alessandra Strozzi done by the historian mentioned in the second paragraph supports which of the following conclusions?

(A) Alessandra used her position as her sons' sole guardian to further interests different from those of her sons. - too extreme
(B) Alessandra unwillingly sacrificed her own interests in favor of those of her sons. - 'unwillingly' seems odd.
(C) Alessandra's actions indicate that her motivations and intentions were those of an independent individual. - it means they were not influenced from anything at all.; not right.
(D) Alessandra's social context encouraged her to take independent action. - no
(E) Alessandra regarded her sons' goals and interests as her own. - yes; champion of her sons’ interests, taking their goals as her own.

-------------------------------------------------------
72. In the first paragraph, the author of the passage mentions a contention that would be made by an anthropologist most likely in order to

contention - a person can be conceived in ways other than as an “individual.” In many societies a person’s identity is not intrinsically unique and self-contained but instead is defined within a complex web of social relationships.

(B) offer a perspective on the concept of personhood that can usefully be applied to the study of women in Renaissance Europe -
-----------------------------------------------------

73. The passage suggests that the historians referred to in line 1 make which of the following assumptions about Renaissance Europe?

(C) That European women of the Renaissance had the possibility of acting independently of the social context in which they lived

-----------------------------------------------
74. It can be inferred that the author of the passage believes which of the following about the study of Alessandra Strozzi done by the historian mentioned in the second paragraph?

This historian assumes that Alessandra had goals and interests different from those of her sons, yet much of the historian’s own research reveals that Alessandra acted primarily as a champion of her sons’ interests, taking their goals as her own. Thus Alessandra conforms more closely to the anthropologist’s notion that personal motivation is embedded in a social context.
PT - historian and anthropologist have different contention. 'However' in P1 can proove that. Above lines tell that AS was more close to anthropologist’s notion. This will infer option E as winner.

(E) The interpretation of Alessandra's actions that the historian puts forward is not supported by much of the historian's research.

-----------------------------------------
75. The passage suggests that the historian mentioned in the second paragraph would be most likely to agree with which of the following assertions regarding Alessandra Strozzi?

(D) Alessandra is an example of a Renaissance woman who expressed her individuality through independent action.
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New post 04 Oct 2018, 07:34
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75. The passage suggests that the historian mentioned in the second paragraph would be most likely to agree with which of the following assertions regarding Alessandra Strozzi?

In the above question, why is the answer D (Alessandra is an example of a Renaissance woman who expressed her individuality through independent action)?
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New post 04 Oct 2018, 08:42
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RhythmGMAT wrote:
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75. The passage suggests that the historian mentioned in the second paragraph would be most likely to agree with which of the following assertions regarding Alessandra Strozzi?

In the above question, why is the answer D (Alessandra is an example of a Renaissance woman who expressed her individuality through independent action)?

Such questions must be solved by POE only. I found D very easily so did not explained. Let me try to help you, while Charles Sir can back me up :P

(A) Alessandra was able to act more independently than most women of her time because she was a widow. ------ Such comparison is not given in Text. We dnt know much about other women of this time. also she was widow, this part is completly out of context.
(B) Alessandra was aware that her personal motivation was embedded in a social context. ------ her personal motivation is more on lines of her sons' motivation. Social context has a very broad meaning in this sense.
(C) Alessandra had goals and interests similar to those of many other widows in her society. ------ again out of context comparison. we dnt know about goals of other widows.
(E) Alessandra was exceptional because she was able to effect changes in the social constraints placed upon women in her society. ------ so basically she was exceptional cause she had social constraints. well most of the women had those type of constraints in this era. this one is very broad.

(D) Alessandra is an example of a Renaissance woman who expressed her individuality through independent action. ---- I could not eliminate this one straight. so i kept it. this answer is not extreme. yes she does expressed her individuality. P2 is all about that. those actions were individual ? yes they were. inspired by her sons'.
usually in such cases, breaking the sentence in adjectives make it more clear. Keep sentence as easy as possible.

Hope it will be helpful for you. Do let me know in case of any doubts.
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New post 05 Oct 2018, 00:38
aragonn wrote:
75. The passage suggests that the historian mentioned in the second paragraph would be most likely to agree with which of the following assertions regarding Alessandra Strozzi?

In the above question, why is the answer D (Alessandra is an example of a Renaissance woman who expressed her individuality through independent action)?
Such questions must be solved by POE only. I found D very easily so did not explained. Let me try to help you, while Charles Sir can back me up :P

(A) Alessandra was able to act more independently than most women of her time because she was a widow. ------ Such comparison is not given in Text. We dnt know much about other women of this time. also she was widow, this part is completly out of context.
(B) Alessandra was aware that her personal motivation was embedded in a social context. ------ her personal motivation is more on lines of her sons' motivation. Social context has a very broad meaning in this sense.
(C) Alessandra had goals and interests similar to those of many other widows in her society. ------ again out of context comparison. we dnt know about goals of other widows.
(E) Alessandra was exceptional because she was able to effect changes in the social constraints placed upon women in her society. ------ so basically she was exceptional cause she had social constraints. well most of the women had those type of constraints in this era. this one is very broad.

(D) Alessandra is an example of a Renaissance woman who expressed her individuality through independent action. ---- I could not eliminate this one straight. so i kept it. this answer is not extreme. yes she does expressed her individuality. P2 is all about that. those actions were individual ? yes they were. inspired by her sons'.
usually in such cases, breaking the sentence in adjectives make it more clear. Keep sentence as easy as possible.

Hope it will be helpful for you. Do let me know in case of any doubts.


Thanks, I too eliminated A,B, C and E easily. But I was not convinced with D either. Because I didn't find anywhere in the passage that mentioned her actions were independent or she expressed her individuality.
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Re: Historians who study European women of the Renaissance try to measure  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Oct 2018, 14:10
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RhythmGMAT wrote:
aragonn wrote:
75. The passage suggests that the historian mentioned in the second paragraph would be most likely to agree with which of the following assertions regarding Alessandra Strozzi?

In the above question, why is the answer D (Alessandra is an example of a Renaissance woman who expressed her individuality through independent action)?
Such questions must be solved by POE only. I found D very easily so did not explained. Let me try to help you, while Charles Sir can back me up :P

(A) Alessandra was able to act more independently than most women of her time because she was a widow. ------ Such comparison is not given in Text. We dnt know much about other women of this time. also she was widow, this part is completly out of context.
(B) Alessandra was aware that her personal motivation was embedded in a social context. ------ her personal motivation is more on lines of her sons' motivation. Social context has a very broad meaning in this sense.
(C) Alessandra had goals and interests similar to those of many other widows in her society. ------ again out of context comparison. we dnt know about goals of other widows.
(E) Alessandra was exceptional because she was able to effect changes in the social constraints placed upon women in her society. ------ so basically she was exceptional cause she had social constraints. well most of the women had those type of constraints in this era. this one is very broad.

(D) Alessandra is an example of a Renaissance woman who expressed her individuality through independent action. ---- I could not eliminate this one straight. so i kept it. this answer is not extreme. yes she does expressed her individuality. P2 is all about that. those actions were individual ? yes they were. inspired by her sons'.
usually in such cases, breaking the sentence in adjectives make it more clear. Keep sentence as easy as possible.

Hope it will be helpful for you. Do let me know in case of any doubts.


Thanks, I too eliminated A,B, C and E easily. But I was not convinced with D either. Because I didn't find anywhere in the passage that mentioned her actions were independent or she expressed her individuality.

Thanks for chipping in, aragonn!

I'll try phrasing the reasoning a little bit differently, in case that helps anybody. I'll be relatively quick with the choices that we all had no trouble eliminating, and add a little more detail on why (D) is the best option.

But first, let's be clear on the question:
Quote:
75. The passage suggests that the historian mentioned in the second paragraph would be most likely to agree with which of the following assertions regarding Alessandra Strozzi?

We are looking for the choice that best matches what the historian believes (according to the passage). We're not looking for a statement that Alessandra herself would believe. We're also not looking for a statement that the author would believe.

We also know that, according to the author, this historian applied an individualistic view to Alessandra when that view was not necessarily reflective of Alessandra's own motivations and social context.

Quote:
(A) Alessandra was able to act more independently than most women of her time because she was a widow.

There is no mention that the historian thought Alessandra acted more independently than most women. Eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) Alessandra was aware that her personal motivation was embedded in a social context.

The historian never suggested that Alessandra was aware of this phenomenon. The author of the passage doesn't mention this, either. If anything, the author suggests that Alessandra didn't show any awareness of this, because Alessandra herself didn't distinguish her personhood from that of her sons. Eliminate (B).

Quote:
(C) Alessandra had goals and interests similar to those of many other widows in her society.

The passage never makes this comparison and never comments on whether/how the historian would have made this comparison. Eliminate (C).

Quote:
(D) Alessandra is an example of a Renaissance woman who expressed her individuality through independent action.

This choice looks good! It matches what we know about the historian, who "attributes individual intention and authorship of actions to her subject. The historian assumes that Alessandra had goals and interest different from those of her sons." These statements tell us that the historian views her subjects, including Alessandra, as autonomous individuals.

Also note how this fits right into the overall structure of this passage. The purpose of the second paragraph is to provide an example of the bigger point that the author makes in the first paragraph. So the author is bringing up this historian because the historian is part of a bigger group of Renaissance historians who define "personhood" in terms of an individualistic identity.

All of this shows that the historian would likely agree with this choice, so we'll keep (D) around.

Quote:
(E) Alessandra was exceptional because she was able to effect changes in the social constraints placed upon women in her society.

The passage never mentions this, and certainly doesn't connect this thought to the historian's beliefs. Eliminate (E).

(D) is, far and away, our best choice. POE certainly helps us out here, but it's also remarkably easy to misread this question, and lose track of the fact that we're interested in what the historian believes -- not necessarily the author.

I hope this helps!
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