Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Patrick Camarador - Week 8

Fred Wilcox's Scorched Earth is a piece that goes over an oft overlooked cost of the Vietnamese War: Agent Orange. The use of this herbicide left lasting consequences for the land, people, and strength of Vietnam. This week's theme, 'Legacy of Environmental Degradation', is perhaps a misnomer; Wilcox's work outlines an infamy rather than a legacy. The secrecy of the chemical companies combined with the imperialist impetus of the United States led to a myriad of suffering for the Vietnamese people. Wilcox showcases everything from habitat destruction, multiple gimped generations, and the apathy towards reparations.

The Scientific Method. Highly applicable to Social Sciences after all! It can be argued that Wilcox tested the hypothesis of 'Agent Orange has negative lasting consequences for the Vietnamese people' through his work. Image taken from Wikipedia, licensed under CC-SA 4.0 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method#/media/File:The_Scientific_Method_as_an_Ongoing_Process.svg
Wilcox's methodology struck me as interesting. He cites that his methods were "scientifically anecdotal, or anecdotally scientific." He did not seek to publish some article with quantitative data, charts, and trends. He sought instead to perform an ethnographic approach, to "listen to Vietnam," in his words. This approach that is sociological in nature but scientific in application, exhibits a bridging between the humanities and traditional science. It makes me wonder: Why is there such a divide between these two fields? With works such as these, is it not evident that each field can be a driving force for the other? I would hope that the integrity future of scientific studies can be preserved through sociological critique. 'Just because we could, does not mean we should.'

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