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Join historians Daniel Pick and Andreas Killen as they discuss how political tensions from the Cold War era to the present contributed to the enduring fantasy of brainwashing and, in so doing, also shaped our understanding of the brain, mind, and the human condition. In this wide-ranging dialogue they will also consider the implications of post-war debates about brainwashing for psychoanalysis, cinema, the ‘counter-culture’, and the anti-psychiatry movement.


Andreas Killen is Professor of History at City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has published widely on the history of psychiatry and the human sciences. His books include Homo Cinematicus: Science, Motion Pictures, and the Making of Modern Germany (2017) and, most recently, Nervous Systems: Brain Science in the Early Cold War (2023).

Daniel Pick is a psychoanalyst and historian He is professor emeritus at Birkbeck, a training analyst at the British Psychoanalytical Society, and recipient of the Sigourney Award 2023. His books include Brainwashed: A New History of Thought Control (2022), Svengali’s Web: The Alien Enchanter in Modern Culture (2000) and Psychoanalysis: A Very Short Introduction (2015).

The event is free to attend, please reserve your free place using the link on the right-hand side.

Event details

River Room
Strand Campus
Strand, London, WC2R 2LS