Professor Robert Jay Lifton in Conversation

A message from Shaul Bar-Haim:

Robert Jay Lifton visits Birkbeck! Please read Daniel Pick and Marcie Holmes’s notice below. For those of us who are not familiar with the name, I’ll just add that it is a rare opportunity to meet one of the most influential social scientists in the second half of the twentieth century — psychiatrist, anthropologist, historian, Holocaust scholar, Vietnam scholar, pioneer in trauma studies. If your research is related somehow to one of these topics this event is not to be missed. There are only a few spaces left for this invitation-only event, so please contact soon to RSVP. 

Daniel Pick and I warmly invite you to tea and conversation with Prof. Robert Jay Lifton at Birkbeck on Friday, 22 May from 2-4pm. Prof. Lifton is a psychiatrist and well-respected author of many books, including Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism (1961), Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima (1968), Home from War: Vietnam Veterans—Neither Victims nor Executioners (1973), The Nazi Doctors (1986), and Destroying the World to Save It: Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and the New Global Terrorism (2000). More recently he has written on drone warfare and climate change.
This informal meeting, organised under the auspices of the Hidden Persuaders project, will be a chance for PhD students to learn directly from Prof. Lifton about his approach to ‘psychohistory’, and how he has utilised this method in studying human experiences both past and present.  Prof. Lifton will offer some remarks on his ongoing investigation of attitudes toward climate change and drone warfare, and will then take questions from students on these and other aspects related to his long and distinguished career as a public intellectual. Prior to the event we will circulate some recent op-ed pieces that Prof Lifton has written on climate change and drone warfare, along with some optional background reading on psychohistory and the historical interpretation of trauma.
If you are interested in joining us for tea and conversation on Friday 22 May, please RSVP by emailing me at  This event will take place in 25 Russell Square, room 115, from 2-4pm. We will have tea, coffee and cake on hand. Please let me know if you have any dietary requests.
N.B. We are organising this tea in conjunction with a formal seminar, held on Thursday, 21 May, in which Prof. Lifton will comment on his earlier work in psychohistory.  We hope that you will join us for one or both events.

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