Can a social scientist remain objective especially in our time today?
Two Saturdays ago, a professor of mine (in my Historical Methods class), gave us an article each to read and review. I was amused to find that Leloy (Lissandro) Claudio’s article on “Postcolonial Fissures” was not given to me. “Ahhh, oh I have that article. Sayang, ma’am ___, siya jud diay to sa Manila Hotel. I should have my pic taken with him.” 😀 She told me, “Mao na ang reason I did not give the article to you” with a smile.
Ah yes, objectivity can be a challenge when reading an article written by someone I look up to and admire. That brings me to the thought: “Can one be truly objective?” How we write, what we write about and how we hypothesize always manage to color our thinking and theorizing.
I remember that incident as I reread my review of Claudio’s Rappler article “The Moralist Thinker in Digong’s Time” and I finally understood what my professor meant. Hah! The review I submitted was very “emotionally close” and emotional. It was half intellectual and half emotional. I saw how wise it was of her to give me the postmodern article written by Dr. Hornedo.
It’s something I am looking forward to reading since I still am kind of ambivalent towards postmodernism and history given my training and background from Diliman. I was taught and trained by professors who were allergic to the postmodern framework. But then studying in USC has opened my eyes to different theories and perspectives that I am not familiar with since the department in Diliman, during my time, was not so open to postmodern theory. I remember a professor of mine who would smirk every time Foucault’s name was mentioned.
As a History major, I was hesitant to dabble in and explore other theories like postmodernism and Historicism but today I learned that part of growing up as an academic is to look at the unknown, unlearned and the unexplored.
I see it as like a child who wants to explore what her parents warned her about but were not really sure it was scientifically grounded or had basis backed up by research.
I have that feeling today. Poised at flight, wanting to plumb the depths and horizons I was told not to step foot on because it was against tradition.
Let’s see where I land after this.