My research this week has led me to a very helpful scholarly article I found while searching through Google Scholar. The article is titled “A Struggle to Contextualize Photographic Images: American Print Media and the ‘Burning Monk’” and was published in Communication Quarterly in May of 2009. The recent publication date of the article is helpful in the sense that I am able to see the new emerging thoughts on Browne’s photo, and how scholars today classify the importance of the image. The authors of the piece argue that the images provided insight for the general population of America that had previously not paid much attention to South Vietnam. Another main point the article focuses on was the split in the media between reporting the images and South Vietnam itself as either a place of religious persecution, or the forefront of a war in which the citizens were fighting for freedom from the communists. The essay also talks in depth about the problems that arose for the public to be able to contextualize the culture and country of South Vietnam as a whole, hence the title of the piece.
This article is very helpful with my paper, and I plan on weaving in the scholarly opinions of the authors alongside the many newspaper articles and other primary sources I have found. Most importantly, the article asserts my previous belief that the image itself seemed to embody the problem of American involvement with both Diem and South Vietnam. Also of extreme importance to me is the bibliography listed at the end of the article that lists many notorious newspapers that either ran the photograph or an article that discussed the photograph explicitly within the week of Browne capturing the immolation. I plan on using the references listed and going to look at microfilm within the next week. Interestingly enough, every article listed within the major newspapers was not found on page one. Instead, most were found within pages three, four, or five. I will be able to analyze the initial impact of the photo from a journalistic standpoint better once I get a look at the microfilm, but I am surmising that the guesswork I have done far with my primary sources will be further proved.