In recent years, teachers of introductory courses in Asian American studies have been facing a dilemma nonexistent a few decades ago, when hardly any texts in that field were available. Today, excellent anthologies and other introductory texts exist, and books on individual Asian American nationality groups and on general issues important for Asian Americans are published almost weekly. Even professors who are experts in the field find it difficult to decide which of these to assign to students; nonexperts who teach in related areas and are looking for writings for and by Asian American to include in survey courses are in an even worse position.
A complicating factor has been the continuing lack of specialized one-volume reference works on Asian Americans, such as biographical dictionaries or desktop encyclopedias. Such works would enable students taking Asian American studies courses to look up basic information on Asian American individuals, institutions, history, and culture without having to wade through mountains of primary source material. In addition, give such works, Asian American studies professors might feel more free to include more challenging Asian American material in their introductory reading lists, since good reference works allow students to acquire on their own the background information necessary to interpret difficult or unfamiliar material.
Question: The author of the passage is primarily concerned with doing which of the following?
- Recommending a methodology
- Describing a course of study
- Discussing a problem
- Evaluating a past course of action
- Responding to a criticism
Question: The “dilemma” mentioned in line 2 can best be characterized as being caused by the necessity to make a choice when faced with a
- lack of acceptable alternatives
- lack of strict standards for evaluating alternatives
- preponderance of bad alternatives as compared to good
- multitude of different alternatives
- large number of alternatives that are nearly identical in content
Question: The passage suggests that the factor mentioned in lines 14-17 complicates professors’ attempts to construct introductory reading lists for courses in Asian American studies in which of the following ways?
- By making it difficult for professors to identify primary source material and to obtain standard information on Asian American history and culture
- By preventing professors from identifying excellent anthologies and introductory texts in the field that are both recent and understandable to students
- By preventing professors from adequately evaluating the quality of the numerous texts currently being published in the field
- By making it more necessary for professors to select readings for their courses that are not too challenging for students unfamiliar with Asian American history and culture
- By making it more likely that the readings professors assign to students in their courses will be drawn solely from primary sources
Question: The passage implies that which of the following was true of introductory courses in Asian American studies a few decades ago?
- The range of different textbooks that could be assigned for such courses was extremely limited.
- The texts assigned as readings in such courses were often not very challenging for students.
- Students often complained about the texts assigned to them in such courses.
- Such courses were offered only at schools whose libraries were rich in primary sources.
- Such courses were the only means then available by which people in the United States could acquire knowledge of the field.
Question: According to the passage, the existence of good one-volume reference works about Asian Americans could result in
- increased agreement among professors of Asian American studies regarding the quality of the sources available in their field
- an increase in the number of students signing up for introductory courses in Asian American studies
- increased accuracy in writings that concern Asian American history and culture
- the use of introductory texts about Asian American history and culture in courses outside the field of Asian American studies
- the inclusion of a wider range of Asian American material in introductory reading lists in Asian American studies
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