Interrogations: Psy Sciences, Coercion and Confession in a Time of Cold War

Interrogations: Psy Sciences, Coercion and Confession in a Time of Cold War

Friday 1 July – Saturday 2 July 2016

The Council Room, Birkbeck College

Friday, 1 July

10:30-10:40 Welcome

10:40-11:00 Introductory remarks by Daniel Pick

 11:00-12:45 session 1 (discuss paper drafts):

 Monica Kim (NYU) The American Citizen-POW: Reading “Brainwashing” Against the Grain

Aminda M. Smith (Michigan State), The Un-Brainwashers: Maoist Thought Reform in the Age of Mass Mind Control

 Chair: Julia Lovell (Birkbeck)

 12:45-2:00 lunch

 2:00-3:45 session 2 (discuss paper drafts):

 Harry Wu (Hong Kong), Ethics of Being (Un)Governed: Psychiatry as Accomplice and Resistance in Post WWII Taiwan

Ran Zwigenberg (Pennsylvania State), “Wounds of the Heart”: Psychiatric Trauma and Civil Defence Research in Hiroshima

Chair: Warwick Anderson (Sydney)

 3:45-4:00 tea

 4:00-5:30 session 3 (presentations):

 Erik Linstrum (Virginia), The Truth about Hearts and Minds: Development and Counterinsurgency in the Postwar Empire

Roderick Bailey (Oxford), A British Way of Mind Control? Professor Alexander Kennedy and the 1960 ‘Brainwashing’ Scandal

 Chair: Hilary Sapire (Birkbeck)


 Saturday, 2 July

11:00-12:45 Session 4 (discuss paper drafts):

Rebecca Lemov (Harvard), Louis Jolyon West and the Brainwashing Origins of S.E.R.E. Training

 Marcia Holmes (Birkbeck), Legitimate resistance? Brainwashing, the behavioral sciences and the Hungarian Uprising

 Chair: Peter Mandler (Cambridge) 

 12:45-2:00 lunch

2:00-3:45 Session 5 (discuss paper drafts):

Sarah Marks (Cambridge), Psychiatry, dissidents and the Czechoslovak Security Services

 Rebecca Reich (Cambridge), Mind Control and Creative Madness in the Work of Andrei Siniavskii (Abram Terts)

Chair: Erik Linstrum (Virginia)

3:45-4:00 tea

4:00-5:30 Session 6 (presentations):

Hans Pols (Sydney), Alexander Leighton: From governing morale in American internment camps for the Japanese to community psychiatry

Knuth Mueller (Steinbeis Hochschule Berlin), The role of psychoanalytic knowledge in CIA’s ARTICHOKE and MKULTRA documents during the years 1947-1963: Use and misuse of psychoanalytic techniques

 Chair: Susan Carruthers (Rutgers)

 5:30-6:00 final discussion

6:00 wine reception

If you wish to attend, please email Marcia Holmes at as soon as possible as there is very limited space.

Marcia Holmes
Post-doctoral researcher
Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
Birkbeck, University of London

Image credit: By Marcin Wichary from San Francisco, U.S.A. (Lie detector Uploaded by SunOfErat) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

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