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The recent centennial of the founding of the American Historical Assoc

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The recent centennial of the founding of the American Historical Assoc  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 16 Oct 2019, 00:08
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The recent centennial of the founding of the American Historical Association has given historians a properly historical reason for considering the present state of their discipline. The profession‘s introspectionist analysis may be said to have begun a few years ago with the publication of The Past Before Us: Contemporary Historical Writing in the United States, an upbeat and self-congratulatory volume intended by the sponsoring AHA as a demonstration of ―state of the art‖ historiography. Introducing this volume, editor Michael Kammen stated that after a changing of the guard in the 1970s, the professional historical community is mainly concerned with questions of social history, intergenerational conflict, and human responses to structures of power.

Having repudiated the basic commitments to nationalism and the ideal of scholarly detachment that had always sustained historical writing in the United States, professional historians found themselves—not surprisingly, one might add—cut off from their cultural environment. That this situation is markedly different from the formative period of historical scholarship can be seen in centennial numbers of the American Historical Review, the most recent expression of the profession‘s reflective tendency, which have explored the nature of historical thinking at the time of the association‘s founding a century ago.

What has been all but ignored in these official efforts at intellectual stocktaking is the enduring body of historical writing produced by American scholars between the end of the founding period in the early twentieth century and the onset of the excitement of the 1970s. Perhaps it is the thoroughness with which scholars have for two decades described the shift from progressive consensus to New Left history that accounts for this neglect. Whatever its reason, however, the oversight is fortunately rectified by the appearance of an ―unofficial‖ volume on American historiography, Twentieth-Century American Historians which describes an approach to history that reminds us that until very recently history faithfully maintained its literary orientation and narrative character. It is a bit astonishing to learn that historians like Douglas Southall Freeman were nationally known figures whose books sold in the hundreds of thousands. It is instructive to recall that several of the most widely read and influential writers of history, such as Allan Nevins, Claude G. Bowers, and James Truslow Adams, possessed no formal historical training. And it is heartening to read of a time when, despite its academic institutional setting, cultural alienation was not asserted as a sign of intellectual sophistication and certification.

Although by no means uncritical, the authors of the essays in Twentieth- Century American Historians have approached their subject with an attitude of respectful admiration for the accomplishments of their intellectual mentors. It is unusual, moreover, to find in contemporary scholarship the open-mindedness to conservative points of view, and immunity to orthodox liberal assumptions, that inform this volume.
1. If the claims made in the passage are correct, how would contemporary historians of the American Historical Association be expected to respond to a work that provides a nationalistic interpretation of American history?
A. They would probably embrace it because it reflects the New Left approach to American history.
B. They would probably embrace it because it appeals to their sense of national pride.
C. They would probably denounce it because it conflicts with their philosophical orientation.
D. They would probably denounce it because it violates the principle of scholarly objectivity.
E. They would be indifferent to such a work because it has no connection with their beliefs

2. Based on information in the passage, which of the following statements in NOT true?
A. Contemporary historians have largely overlooked the scholarly contributions of historians who published in the early decades of this century.
B. Contemporary historians are generally less interested in economic history than social history.
C. Contemporary historians are generally not receptive to conservative interpretations of history.
D. Contemporary historians have usually closely analysed the works of earlier historians such as Allan Nevins, Claude G. Bowers, and James Truslow Adams.
E. Twentieth-Century American Historians is not an officially sanctioned historical work

3. Which of the following assertions would most strengthen the author‘s claim that many contemporary historians are ―cut off from their cultural environment‖ (line 15)?
A. They are very familiar with the writings of earlier historians like James Truslow Adams.
B. The only people who read their books are other professional historians.
C. They are criticized by the authors of essays in Twentieth-Century American Historians.
D. Their intellectual sophistication has made them receptive to the conservative perspective
E. Some contemporary historians don‘t actively participate in cultural events


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Originally posted by GmatWizard on 23 Oct 2018, 08:29.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 16 Oct 2019, 00:08, edited 1 time in total.
Updated - Complete topic (1018).
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Re: The recent centennial of the founding of the American Historical Assoc  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 30 Oct 2018, 22:24

Topic and Scope:

- The author reviews two books that analyse historical writing,
praising one‘s approach over the other.

Mapping the Passage


¶1 introduces the first book (The Past Before Us...) and takes quick stock of modern
historiography.
¶2 describes the drawbacks associated with modern approaches to history.
¶3 points out a body of history ignored by the first book and introduces a second book
(20th Century American Historians) that does evaluate it.
¶4 describes the virtues of the second book.
Strategy Points:
In a “book review” passage, particularly one with multiple books, be sure to keep
track of different points of view. Be aware not only of what each book is saying and
how they contrast, but what the author thinks also.
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Originally posted by GmatWizard on 23 Oct 2018, 08:30.
Last edited by GmatWizard on 30 Oct 2018, 22:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The recent centennial of the founding of the American Historical Assoc  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2018, 08:32
1

Answers and Explanations


1)

Where is nationalism mentioned? At the beginning of ¶2, where the AHA is said to
have ―repudiated‖ it. The author clearly believes they‘re doing so on principle;
choice (C) fits perfectly.
(A): Opposite. They‘d reject it precisely because it doesn‘t.
(B): Opposite. Again, they‘d reject it because national pride isn‘t their cup of tea.
(C): The correct answer
(D): Out of Scope. While they‘d surely denounce it, there‘s nothing in the passage to indicate that they‘re too concerned with objectivity. In fact, the author mentions that they‘ve rejected scholarly detachment right along with nationalism.
(E): They would not be indifferent, as described above.

2)

Be sure to paraphrase the author‘s main ideas before jumping to the answers so
that you can spot an answer choice that contradicts. Hit the choices with frequent
reference to your map and the passage. Only (D) isn‘t supported, and (D) in fact is
exactly the opposite of what the author says has happened: contemporary
historians have overlooked this particular group (¶3).
(A): Opposite. This is simply the opposite of (D). If you noticed this when you got to (D), you could be sure that it was the right answer for the same reasons you eliminated this one.(B): Opposite. A point the historians themselves make in ¶1.
(C): Opposite. The author makes this point in ¶3
(D): The correct answer
(E): Opposite. This can easily be inferred from ¶3

3)

Why does the author argue that professional historians are cut off from their culture? Refer back to the text to see that this comes right on the heels of the argument that the AHA is too self-referential and too focused on social history. Look for an answer that would exemplify one or both of these points: Choice (B) fits the former perfectly.
(A): Opposite. The author claims in ¶3 that they aren‘t familiar with this group of historians. If this were true the author‘s argument would be weakened.
(B): The correct answer
(C): Out of Scope. Even if this were true, it would have no effect on whether they‘re cut off from their culture.
(D): Opposite. If this were true, it would counter the author‘s arguments in the last paragraph. They‘d be more closely in touch than the author gives them credit for.
(E): Out of scope.

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Re: The recent centennial of the founding of the American Historical Assoc  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2018, 04:08
Passage summary:
1) Introduces the topic: history as a discipline has change over the course of 100 years.
2) Professional historians no longer associate themselves with nationalism and objectivity.
This is apparent in AHR, in which they analyzed the nature of historical thinking, ignoring
a chunk of historical writing accumulated by American scholars before 1970s.
3) However, this shift is mitigated by the production of an unofficial volume TCAH, which
describes the approach that prevailed until recently.
4) While the authors gave credit for those "ignored" scholars, it is rare to find a writing that
is writen with similar thought of that period.


1. If the claims made in the passage are correct, how would contemporary historians of the American Historical Association be expected to respond to a work that provides a nationalistic interpretation of American history? Relevant text: Having repudiated the basic commitments to nationalism and the ideal of scholarly detachment that had always sustained historical writing in the United States, professional historians found themselves—not surprisingly, one might add—cut off from their cultural environment.
A. They would probably embrace it because it reflects the New Left approach to American history. goes against the idea given in the passage
B. They would probably embrace it because it appeals to their sense of national pride. the same as in A
C. They would probably denounce it because it conflicts with their philosophical orientation. correct
D. They would probably denounce it because it violates the principle of scholarly objectivity. not given
E. They would be indifferent to such a work because it has no connection with their beliefs fits, if you miss that part of the passage, which I did

2. Based on information in the passage, which of the following statements in NOT true?
A. Contemporary historians have largely overlooked the scholarly contributions of historians who published in the early decades of this century. Relevatn text: What has been all but ignored in these official efforts at intellectual stocktaking is the enduring body of historical writing produced by American scholars between the end of the founding period in the early twentieth century and the onset of the excitement of the 1970s.
B. Contemporary historians are generally less interested in economic history than social history. Relevatn text:<...> the professional historical community is mainly concerned with questions of social history, intergenerational conflict, and human responses to structures of power.
C. Contemporary historians are generally not receptive to conservative interpretations of history. Relevatn text: It is unusual, moreover, to find in contemporary scholarship the open-mindedness to conservative points of view <...>
D. Contemporary historians have usually closely analysed the works of earlier historians such as Allan Nevins, Claude G. Bowers, and James Truslow Adams. not given, the passage only says that it's surprising to know that they didn't have a formal background
E. Twentieth-Century American Historians is not an officially sanctioned historical work Relevant text: <...> unofficial‖ volume on American historiography, Twentieth-Century American Historians which describes an approach to history that reminds us that <...>

3. Which of the following assertions would most strengthen the author‘s claim that many contemporary historians are ―cut off from their cultural environment‖ (line 15)?
A. They are very familiar with the writings of earlier historians like James Truslow Adams not given
B. The only people who read their books are other professional historians. correct because it seems that nobody else is interested or understands their writing
C. They are criticized by the authors of essays in Twentieth-Century American Historians. doesn't affect because it's just their opinion; moreover, what would be the grounds of the criticism?
D. Their intellectual sophistication has made them receptive to the conservative perspective superficial words match
E. Some contemporary historians don‘t actively participate in cultural events
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Re: The recent centennial of the founding of the American Historical Assoc   [#permalink] 29 Oct 2018, 04:08
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