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The rich analysts of Fernand Braudel arid his fellow Annales
historians have made significant contributions to historical
theory and research. In a departure from traditional
historical approaches, the Annales historians assume (as do
Marxists) that history cannot be limited to a simple
recounting of conscious human actions, but must be
understood in the context of forces and material conditions
that underlie human behavior. Braudel was the first Annales
historian to gain widespread support for the idea that
history should synthesize data from various social sciences,
especially economics, in order to provide a broader view of
human societies over time (although Febvre and Bloch,
founders of the Annales school, had originated this approach).
Braudel conceived of history as the dynamic interaction of
three temporalities. The first of these, the evenmentielle,
involved short-lived dramatic events such as battles,
revolutions, and the actions of great men, which had
preoccupied traditional historians like Carlyle.
Conjonctures was Braudel’s term for larger cyclical
processes that might last up to half a century. The longue
duree, a historical wave of great length, was for Braudel
the most fascinating of the three temporalities. Here he
focused on those aspects of everyday life that might remain
relatively unchanged for centuries. What people ate, what
they wore, their means and routes of travel—for Braudel
these things create “structures’ that define the limits of
potential social change for hundreds of years at a time.
Braudel’s concept of the longue duree extended the
perspective of historical space as well as time. Until the
Annales school, historians had taken the juridical political
unit—the nation-state, duchy, or whatever—as their starting
point. Yet, when such enormous timespans are considered,
geographical features may well have more significance for
human populations than national borders, In his doctoral
thesis, a seminal work on the Mediterranean during the reign
of Philip II, Braudel treated the geohistory of the entire
region as a “structure” that had exerted myriad influences
on human lifeways since the first settlements on the shores
of the Mediterranean Sea. And so the reader is given such
arcane information as the list of products that came to
Spanish shores from North Africa, the seasonal routes
followed by Mediterranean sheep and their shepherds, and the
cities where the best ship timber could be bought.
Braudel has been faulted for the imprecision of his
approach. With his Rabelaisian delight in concrete detail,
Braudel vastly extended the realm of relevant phenomena but
this very achievement made it difficult to delimit the
boundaries of observation, a task necessary to beginning any
social investigation. Further, Braudel and other Annales
historians minimize the differences among the social
sciences. Nevertheless, the many similarly designed studies
aimed at both professional and popular audiences indicate
that Braudel asked significant questions that traditional
historians had overlooked.
14) The primary purpose of the passage is to:
a) show how Braudel’s work changed the conception of
Mediterranean life held by previous historians.
b) evaluate Braudel’s criticisms of traditional and Marxist
c) contrast the perspective of the longue duree with the
actions of major historical figures
d) outline some of Braudel’s influential conceptions and
distinguish them from conventional approaches.
15) The author refers to the work of Febvre and Bloch in
a) illustrate the limitations of the Annale tradition of
b) suggest the relevance of economics to historical
c) debate the need for combining various sociological
d) show that previous Annales historians anticipated
Braudel’s focus on economics.
16) According to the passage, all of the following are
aspects of Braudel’s approach to history EXCEPT that he:
a) attempted to draw on various social sciences.
b) studied social and economic activities that occurred
across national boundaries.
c) pointed out the link between increased economic activity
and the rise of nationalism.
d) examined seemingly unexciting aspects of everyday life.
17) In the third paragraph, the author is primarily
concerned with discussing:
a) Braudel’s fascination with obscure facts.
b) Braudel’s depiction of the role of geography in human
c) the geography of the Mediterranean region.
d) the irrelevance of national borders.
18) The passage suggests that, compared with traditional
historians, Annales/i> historians are:
a) more interested in other social sciences than in history.
b) critical of the achievements of famous historical figures.
c) skeptical of the validity of most economic research.
d) more interested in the underlying context of human behavior.
19) Which of the Following statements would be most likely
to follow the last sentence of the passage?
a) Few such studies however, have been written by trained
b) It is time, perhaps, for a revival of the Carlylean
emphasis on personalities.
c) Many historians believe that Braudel’s conception of
three distinct “temporalities” is an oversimplification.
d) Such diverse works as Gascon’s study of Lyon and Barbara
Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror testify to his relevance.
20) The author is critical of Braudel’s perspective for
which of the Following reasons
a) It seeks structures that underlie all forms of social
b) It assumes a greater similarity among the social sciences
than actually exists.
c) It fails to consider the relationship between short-term
events and long-term social activity.
d) It rigidly defines boundaries for social analysis.
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