The Psychology of Drone Warfare: A Cautionary Tale, with Robert Jay Lifton

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Date(s) - 12/13/2013
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

John Jay, Room 630H (Haaren Hall)

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Robert Jay LiftonDistinguished Professor at John Jay College and the Graduate Center of CUNY Emeritus, is back in New York as a Senior Research Fellow of the Center on Terrorism after spending a decade at Harvard.  The author of some 25 books, Lifton’s empirical studies of 20th century violence and genocide have helped a method of investigation in the social sciences that creatively departs from the empty positivism that prevails.  Lifton has dealt with subjects ranging from thought reform, or ideological totalism (Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism); to the meanings of Hiroshima, the psychology of the survivor, and the apocalyptic meanings of nuclear weapons (Death in Life); to the enduring psychology of the veteran experience in Vietnam that helped create the idea of PTSD (Home From the War); to the experience of Nazi Doctors, whom he interviewed, and the biological vision of the Nazis that motivated the Holocaust (The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide); and to a detailed study with interviews of the Japanese cult, Aum Shinrikyo, that in the early 1990s aspired to create Armageddon using weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons (Destroying the World to Save It).  Lifton recently published his memoir, Witness to an Extreme Century (2011) that is a remarkable testimony to the underlying themes of death and destruction in the last century.