CAT 2020 Slot 3

Instructions

The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

Mode of transportation affects the travel experience and thus can produce new types of travel writing and perhaps even new “identities.” Modes of transportation determine the types and duration of social encounters; affect the organization and passage of space and time; . . . and also affect perception and knowledge—how and what the traveler comes to know and write about. The completion of the first U.S. transcontinental highway during the 1920s . . . for example, inaugurated a new genre of travel literature about the United States—the automotive or road narrative. Such narratives highlight the experiences of mostly male protagonists “discovering themselves” on their journeys, emphasizing the independence of road travel and the value of rural folk traditions.

Travel writing’s relationship to empire building— as a type of “colonialist discourse”—has drawn the most attention from academicians. Close connections have been observed between European (and American) political, economic, and administrative goals for the colonies and their manifestations in the cultural practice of writing travel books. Travel writers’ descriptions of foreign places have been analyzed as attempts to validate, promote, or challenge the ideologies and practices of colonial or imperial domination and expansion. Mary Louise Pratt’s study of the genres and conventions of 18th- and 19th-century exploration narratives about South America and Africa (e.g., the “monarch of all I survey” trope) offered ways of thinking about travel writing as embedded within relations of power between metropole and periphery, as did Edward Said’s theories of representation and cultural imperialism. Particularly Said’s book, Orientalism, helped scholars understand ways in which representations of people in travel texts were intimately bound up with notions of self, in this case, that the Occident defined itself through essentialist, ethnocentric, and racist representations of the Orient. Said’s work became a model for demonstrating cultural forms of imperialism in travel texts, showing how the political, economic, or administrative fact of dominance relies on legitimating discourses such as those articulated through travel writing. . . .

Feminist geographers’ studies of travel writing challenge the masculinist history of geography by questioning who and what are relevant subjects of geographic study and, indeed, what counts as geographic knowledge itself. Such questions are worked through ideological constructs that posit men as explorers and women as travelers—or, conversely, men as travelers and women as tied to the home. Studies of Victorian women who were professional travel writers, tourists, wives of colonial administrators, and other (mostly) elite women who wrote narratives about their experiences abroad during the 19th century have been particularly revealing. From a “liberal” feminist perspective, travel presented one means toward female liberation for middle- and upper-class Victorian women. Many studies from the 1970s onward demonstrated the ways in which women’s gendered identities were negotiated differently “at home” than they were “away,” thereby showing women’s self-development through travel. The more recent post structural turn in studies of Victorian travel writing has focused attention on women’s diverse and fragmented identities as they narrated their travel experiences, emphasizing women’s sense of themselves as women in new locations, but only as they worked through their ties to nation, class, whiteness, and colonial and imperial power structures

Question 1

From the passage, we can infer that feminist scholars’ understanding of the experiences of Victorian women travellers is influenced by all of the following EXCEPT scholars':

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Question 2

American travel literature of the 1920s:

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Question 3

From the passage, it can be inferred that scholars argue that Victorian women
experienced self-development through their travels because:

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Question 4

According to the passage, Said’s book, “Orientalism”:

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Question 5

From the passage, we can infer that travel writing is most similar to:

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Instructions

The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

Although one of the most contested concepts in political philosophy, human nature is something on which most people seem to agree. By and large, according to Rutger Bregman in his new book Humankind, we have a rather pessimistic view - not of ourselves exactly, but of everyone else. We see other people as selfish, untrustworthy and dangerous and therefore we behave towards them with defensiveness and suspicion. This was how the 17th-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes conceived our natural state to be, believing that all that stood between us and violent anarchy was a strong state and firm leadership. But in following Hobbes, argues Bregman, we ensure that the negative view we have of human nature is reflected back at us. He instead puts his faith in Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the 18th-century French thinker, who famously declared that man was born free and it was civilisation - with its coercive powers, social classes and restrictive laws - that put him in chains.

Hobbes and Rousseau are seen as the two poles of the human nature argument and it’s no surprise that Bregman strongly sides with the Frenchman. He takes Rousseau’s intuition and paints a picture of a prelapsarian idyll in which, for the better part of 300,000 years, Homo sapiens lived a fulfilling life in harmony with nature . . . Then we discovered agriculture and for the next 10,000 years it was all property, war, greed and injustice. . . .

It was abandoning our nomadic lifestyle and then domesticating animals, says Bregman, that brought about infectious diseases such as measles, smallpox, tuberculosis, syphilis, malaria, cholera and plague. This may be true, but what Bregman never really seems to get to grips with is that pathogens were not the only things that grew with agriculture - so did the number of humans. It’s one thing to maintain friendly relations and a property-less mode of living when you’re 30 or 40 hunter-gatherers following the food. But life becomes a great deal more complex and knowledge far more extensive when there are settlements of many thousands.  “Civilisation has become synonymous with peace and progress and wilderness with war and decline,” writes Bregman. “In reality, for most of human existence, it was the other way around.” Whereas traditional history depicts the collapse of civilisations as “dark ages” in which everything gets worse, modern scholars, he claims, see them more as a reprieve, in which the enslaved gain their freedom and culture flourishes. Like much else in this book, the truth is probably somewhere between the two stated positions.

In any case, the fear of civilisational collapse, Bregman believes, is unfounded. It’s the result of what the Dutch biologist Frans de Waal calls “veneer theory” - the idea that just below the surface, our bestial nature is waiting to break out. . . . There’s a great deal of reassuring human decency to be taken from this bold and thought-provoking book and a wealth of evidence in support of the contention that the sense of who we are as a species has been deleteriously distorted. But it seems equally misleading to offer the false choice of Rousseau and Hobbes when, clearly, humanity encompasses both.

Question 6

None of the following views is expressed in the passage EXCEPT that:

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Question 7

According to the passage, the “collapse of civilisations” is viewed by Bregman as:

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Question 8

According to the author, the main reason why Bregman contrasts life in pre-agricultural societies with agricultural societies is to:

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Question 9

The author has differing views from Bregman regarding:

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Instructions

The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

I’ve been following the economic crisis for more than two years now. I began working on the subject as part of the background to a novel, and soon realized that I had stumbled across the most interesting story I’ve ever found. While I was beginning to work on it, the British bank Northern Rock blew up, and it became clear that, as I wrote at the time, “If our laws are not extended to control the new kinds of super-powerful, super-complex, and potentially super  risky investment vehicles, they will one day cause a financial disaster of global-systemic proportions.” . . . I was both right and too late, because all the groundwork for the crisis had already been done—though the sluggishness of the world’s governments, in not preparing for the great unraveling of autumn 2008, was then and still is stupefying. But this is the first reason why I wrote this book: because what’s happened is extraordinarily interesting. It is an absolutely amazing story, full of human interest and drama, one whose byways of mathematics, economics, and psychology are both central to the story of the last decades and mysteriously unknown to the general public. We have heard a lot about “the two cultures” of science and the arts—we heard a particularly large amount about it in 2009, because it was the fiftieth anniversary of the speech during which C. P. Snow first used the phrase. But I’m not sure the idea of a huge gap between science and the arts is as true as it was half a century ago—it’s certainly true, for instance, that a general reader who wants to pick up an education in the fundamentals of science will find it easier than ever before. It seems to me that there is a much bigger gap between the world of finance and that of the general public and that there is a need to narrow that gap, if the financial industry is not to be a kind of priesthood, administering to its own mysteries and feared and resented by the rest of us. Many bright, literate people have no idea about all sorts of economic basics, of a type that financial insiders take as elementary facts of how the world works. I am an outsider to finance and economics, and my hope is that I can talk across that gulf.

My need to understand is the same as yours, whoever you are. That’s one of the strangest ironies of this story: after decades in which the ideology of the Western world was personally and economically individualistic, we’ve suddenly been hit by a crisis which shows in the starkest terms that whether we like it or not—and there are large parts of it that you would have to be crazy to like—we’re all in this together. The aftermath of the crisis is going to dominate the economics and politics of our societies for at least a decade to come and perhaps longer.

Question 10

Which one of the following, if true, would be an accurate inference from the first
sentence of the passage?

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