Jennifer Crane explores how gifted children were imagined as potential peacetime leaders, or as dangerous future citizens who might use their unique talents to subvert authority.
Maarten Derksen uncovers the history of ‘menticide’, an alternative way to understand brainwashing made popular in Meerloo’s 1956 The Rape of the Mind.
Nasheed Qamar Faruqi writes on the making of her film about the youngest of the 21 American POWs who ‘chose’ Mao’s China at the end of the Korean War.
Sarah Marks on how ‘brainwashing’ was used as a Cold War code-word for Communist mass indoctrination; and to express anxieties about consumerism after ’89.
Marcia Holmes considers the oft-told story of how Edward Hunter, an American journalist, introduced the term ‘brainwashing’ into English. Was Hunter working for the CIA when he doggedly promoted the threat of ‘brainwashing’ to his Western readers?
Sarah Marks reflects on histories of the human sciences across East and West, and what we could still learn about the ‘psy’ professions in the Cold War.
Alexandra Hui describes an early example of our cultural ambivalence about background music. In 1958 a journalist asked: does it make us happy, even when we would prefer not to be?
Aline Rubin reminds us that there have been harrowing points of intersection between psychoanalysis and political oppression, particularly in Brazil. Scholars of psychoanalysis have only begun to reckon with this challenging history.
To what extent did the events of the Cold War alter the methods, aims and spaces of interrogation? How might this history intersect with developments in the ‘psy’ sciences? In July 2016, the Hidden Persuaders project hosted a workshop on these questions.
Mary Augusta Brazelton explains how one of the first scandals involving ‘Communist brainwashing’ also serves as an entry point for understanding how the Chinese Communist Party used biomedical expertise to consolidate its political power at home.