Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main idea of the passage?

Shiyi on February 22 at 07:28PM

Why is C incorrect?

Why is C incorrect?

1 Reply

Ravi on February 22 at 08:25PM

@Shiyi-Zhang,

Happy to help.

The question says, "Which one of the following most accurately
expresses the main idea of the passage?"

This is a main point question. You asked why (C) is wrong, so let's
take a look at it first.

(C) says, "U.S. historiography in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries was characterized by a conflict between African
American historians who viewed history from a transnational
perspective and mainstream historians who took a nationalistic
perspective."

While it's true that the author spends lots of the text discussing the
similarities and differences between the transnational and mainstream
approaches to historiography, we cannot conclude with certainty that
the conflict between these two approaches is how U.S. historiography
can be characterized. It is entirely possible that the conflict
between mainstream and transnational U.S. historiography represented
only a small fraction of all U.S. historiography that historians
practiced during this time period. Further, (C) emphasizes U.S.
historiography, and that wasn't the main point of the passage; rather,
the author's central point is about African American historians. Based
on these two things, we can get rid of this answer choice.

(D) says, "The transnational perspective of early African American
historians countered mainstream nationalist historiography, but it was
arguably nationalist itself to the extent that it posited a culturally
unified diasporic community."

In reading the passage, the author's main point is revealed in the
last paragraph in lines 43-45 ("Yet, for all their distrust of U.S.
nationalism, most early black historians were themselves engaged in a
sort of nation building") and lines 50-55 ("Thus, one might argue that
black historians' internationalism was a manifestation of a kind of
nationalism that posits a diasporic community, which, while lacking a
sovereign territory or official language, possesses a single
culture").

The rest of the passage works toward supporting this main idea, so we
know the main point of the passage is to show that African American
historians opposed a national approach to historiography even though
they were simultaneously involved with their own type of nationalism.
This is what (D) says almost verbatim, so it's the correct answer
choice.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!