INTERNATIONAL PSYCHOHISTORICAL ASSOCIATION’S
47th ANNUAL CONFERENCE
MAY 31st – June 2nd, 2024
(FRIDAY-SUNDAY)
VIRTUALLY ON ZOOM

HOPES and FEARS for OUR POLARIZED WORLD:
PSYCHOHISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES

SUBTHEMES: PSYCHOHISTORICAL INSIGHTS ON

• WAR IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE AND UKRAINE
• DEATH ANXIETY AND TERROR MANAGEMENT THEORY
• ULTRANATIONALIST, FUNDAMENTALIST, AND OTHER AUTHORITARIAN MOVEMENTS
• 2024 US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES AND CAMPAIGNS
• ROOTS OF ADULT PSYCHOPATHOLOGY IN CHILDHOOD TRAUMA
• PSYCHOANALYSIS, HUMANE PARENTING, AND INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE HEALING

Besides the topics and subtopics above, the presentations will cover a wide range of topics within the field of psychohistory, encompassing the intersection of psychology/psychoanalysis and history.

Whether you are exploring individual case studies, broader historical trends, or methodological innovations, we welcome diverse perspectives that contribute to the richness of our community’s intellectual dialogue.

We believe that your participation in the conference will not only enrich your own understanding, but also contribute to the collective knowledge and growth of our field.

Our 2024 IPhA Conference featured speakers are:

The following are the titles of the presentations and the abstracts submitted by the featured speakers:

Regine Scholz: COMMUNICATION IN TIMES OF SOCIETAL CONFLICT

Abstract: The presentation is going to muse on several topics.

First: What is societal regression? The transference of the term regression from the realm of the individual to that of society is debatable as the society does not have a body, that gives us the direction of development. Instead, we deal with the value decisions, when we describe certain behaviors as ‘regressive.’

Second: Leaving aside these fundamental theoretical objections for a moment, psychoanalytically informed people usually have – when referring to societal regression – some kind of ‘natural’ understanding of what is talked about: violence, killing, rape, torture, hatred, sadism, dehumanization, humiliation and despair.

Third: On the societal level, these phenomena are group processes, though carried out/ lived through by a large number of persons – collective traumata – have to be lived personally.

These processes can be best understood from the perspective of large group dynamics. Therefore the lecture explores the interrelation with large group identity processes and asks for the communicational mechanisms, that make enable the necessary split between us and them – the precondition of what follows. Examples of inflammatory speech, of branding, framing and of non-verbal gestures are given. The impact of the connected strong emotions is discussed and the psychological dynamics that drive the dangerous spiral described. The remaining question is: How to stop it?

Anne Speckhard: PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF RADICALIZATION INTO WHITE SUPREMACY, ANTI-GOVERNMENT MILITIA, INCEL AND MILITANT JIHADIST MOVEMENTS AND GROUPS

Abstract: After conducting over 800 in-depth interviews with terrorists and close associates from militant jihadist, white supremacists, anti-government militia, and other groups, four key factors emerge as sufficient and necessary to make a terrorist/violent extremist. Speckhard’s model – the Lethal Cocktail of Terrorism will be discussed as well as the pathways into and backout of violent extremism and terrorism.

Robin Grille: THE NEW FASCISM: SOCIAL DEVOLUTION – OR GROWTH-PANIC?

Abstract: In recent years we have seen wave after wave of backlash – often violent – against revolutionary social transformations (in gender dynamics especially) and an inexorable growth of globalism and multiculturalism. It seems these forces of social transformation have been met by an almost equal and opposite fervor for conservatism. What are the perceived existential threats to group-identity, and how can we better understand the despair that drives this backlash around the world? Rather than a sociological frame, I wish to apply a psychological – in particular, developmental – frame for understanding this worrisome phenomenon.

Looking more deeply: why do so many of us tenaciously attach to and defend an identity, social, tribal, or national, at times more dearly than our very lives? What might be the childhood roots of identitarian politics, and egoic attachments to ethnicity, nationality, and authoritarianism?

What are the authoritarian parenting and education practices most likely to produce hostile social and political conservatism, and how might we combat these trends through more life-affirming, healthier social policy initiatives and childrearing reforms?

Sheldon Solomon(UN)TRUTH AND TOTALITARIANISM

Abstract: In this presentation Dr. Solomon will explore: the central role of untruth in fascism; psychological factors contributing to devotion to charismatic/populist leaders and their “big lies”; how social media in the 21st century magnifies untruths and amplifies psychological affinity for big liars; the grave danger this poses to democracy; and the role of “radical mindfulness” to offset these pernicious tendencies.

The result of a consistent and total substitution of lies for factual truth is not that the lie will now be accepted as truth and truth be defamed as a lie, but that the sense by which we take our bearings in the real world—and the category of truth versus falsehood is among the mental means to this end—is being destroyed.” Hannah Arendt, The Origin of Totalitarianism, 1951

Here are the the Short Bios of Our Featured Speakers:

Regine Scholz, Dr. phil., studied psychology and sociology and holds a Ph.D. from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, where she wrote the thesis “Culture and Collective Trauma – a Group Analytic Perspective.” Dr. Scholz’s professional experience includes research on mediation at Ruhr University Bochum and in-house management trainings in an internationally operating oil company. Since 1987 she has worked in private practice as a group analyst and psychotherapist, specializing in the treatment of trauma. Dr. Scholz was a member of the Management Committee of the GAS International (GASI) and founding member of the German Society for Group Analysis and Group Psychotherapy (D3G). She is a supervisor and training analyst of D3G as well as a member of the training staff of the Munster Institute of Therapeutic and Applied Group Analysis. She is a member of the editorial board of the journal group analysis.

Her work includes papers and workshops at international conferences on topics related to collective trauma. As Chair of the International Development Committee of GASI she organized the first three International Summer Schools in Group Analysis, in Belgrade 2013, in Prague 2015 and 2016 in Athens. She also is the co-organizer of the meanwhile five conferences on the heritage of Auschwitz “Voices after Auschwitz.” A comprehensive list of Dr. Scholz’s publications on issues of large group theory and the influence of culture and collective trauma on unconscious processes is available on her personal website.

Anne Speckhard, Ph.D., is Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and served for over 2 decades as Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine and also served as an Affiliate in the Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University. She has interviewed over 800 terrorists, violent extremists, their family members and supporters around the world, including in Western Europe, the Balkans, Central Asia, the Former Soviet Union and the Middle East. Over the past five years, she has conducted in-depth psychological interviews with 273 ISIS defectors, returnees, and prisoners, as well as 16 al Shabaab cadres (as well as family members and ideologues,) studying their trajectories into and out of terrorism, and their experiences inside ISIS and al Shabaab.

Speckhard developed the ICSVE Breaking the ISIS Brand Counter Narrative Project from these interviews, which includes over 250 short counter narrative videos that mimic ISIS recruitment videos but contain actual terrorists strongly denouncing ISIS as un-Islamic, corrupt and brutal. These videos have been utilized in over 200 Facebook and Instagram campaigns globally. Beginning in 2020, she launched the ICSVE Escape Hate Counter Narrative Project, interviewing dozens of white supremacists and members of hate groups, developing counternarratives from their interviews, and creating anti-recruitment videos. She has also conducted rare interviews with five Antifa activists (Antifa protestors rarely grant interviews.)

Dr. Speckhard is also an expert in rehabilitation and repatriation of terrorists and their families. In 2007, she designed the psychological and Islamic aspects of the Detainee Rehabilitation Program in Iraq to be applied to 20,000+ detainees and 800 juveniles. This work led to consulting with foreign governments on issues of terrorist prevention, interventions and repatriation, and the rehabilitation and reintegration of ISIS foreign fighters, wives and children. She has worked with NATO, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), UN Women, United Nations Countering Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED), United Nations Office of Drug and Crime (UNODC), the EU Commission and EU Parliament, and to the U.S. Senate & House, Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, and the FBI.

Today Dr. Speckhard actively trains key stakeholders in law enforcement, intelligence, elite hostage negotiation teams, educators, and other professionals in countering violent extremism, locally and internationally. Her focus is on the psychology of terrorism, the effective use of counter-narrative messaging materials produced by ICSVE, as well as studying the use of children as violent actors by groups such as ISIS. Her consultations and trainings include U.S., Canadian, German, British, Dutch, Austrian, Swiss, Belgian, Danish, Iraqi, Syrian, Jordanian and Thai national police and security officials, among others.

Dr. Speckhard is the author of five books: Homegrown Hate; Talking to Terrorists; Bride of ISIS; Undercover Jihadi; and ISIS Defectors: Inside Stories of the Terrorist Caliphate. She has appeared on CNN, BBC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, CTV, CBC, and in the New York Times, Washington Post, London Times, TIME Magazine, Newsweek, Daily Beast and more. She regularly writes a column for Homeland Security Today. Her research has been published in Global Security: Health, Science and Policy, Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, Journal of African Security, Journal of Strategic Security, the Journal of Human Security, Bidhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies, Journal for Deradicalization, Perspectives on Terrorism and the International Studies Journal.  Her academic publications are found at https://georgetown.academia.edu/AnneSpeckhard and www.icsve.org.

ICSVE’s Breaking the ISIS Brand and Escape Hate Counternarrative videos and training seminars can be watched on ICSVE’s YouTube channel. ICSVE’s research has been funded by the EU Commission; U.S. Departments of State, Homeland Security, Defense and Justice; UN Women; and the Embassy of Qatar.

Robin Grille, BA (psych), Grad Dip Counseling, Dip Int Psych, MAPS is an international speaker, psychologist/psychotherapist, and parenting educator. His articles on parenting and child development have been widely published and translated in Australia and around the world (including in the Journal of Psychohistory). Robin is the author of three books: Parenting for a Peaceful World; Heart to Heart Parenting, and his newest title: Inner Child Journeys.

Born in Uruguay to Jewish-Romanian parents before coming to Australia when he was 10 years old, Robin has a lifetime fascination with how our diverse cultural norms shape the way we relate to the world. Part psychologist, part historian and part anthropologist, Robin’s work is animated by his belief that humanity’s future is largely dependent on the way we collectively relate to our children.

Being an inveterate traveler and global citizen, Robin’s keynotes and workshops have helped many people – throughout Asia, North America, UK, Australia and New Zealand – to embrace parenting as a transformative, personal growth journey. Drawing from over 30 years’ clinical experience and from leading-edge neuropsychological research, Robin’s seminars and courses focus on healthy emotional development for children as well as parents; while building supportive, co-operative parenting communities.

To find out more about Robin Grille’s work, his books, articles, and seminars, visit robingrille.com

Sheldon Solomon, PhD, is an American social psychologist. He is a professor of psychology at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. His studies of the effects of the uniquely human awareness of death on behavior have been supported by the National Science Foundation and Ernest Becker Foundation and were featured in the award-winning documentary film Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality. He is co-author of In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror and The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life. Sheldon is an American Psychological Society Fellow, and a recipient of an American Psychological Association Presidential Citation (2007), a Lifetime Career Award by the International Society for Self and Identity (2009), the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs Annual Faculty Award (2011), and a Career Contribution Award by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (2021).


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If you would like to submit your proposal after the deadline (of January 8, 2024), please use this FORM for consideration.
Presentation proposals on the above theme and subthemes or any other psychohistorical topics are welcome. Proposals consist of (a) presentation type (individual or panel); (b) presentation or panel title; (c) one paragraph abstract (for individual or panel presentation); (d) presenter(s) name(s) and professional title(s); (e) one paragraph professional bio(s); and (f) references of three peer-reviewed articles or books supporting your research (authored by you or others).

 

Feel free to contact the IPhA’s 2024 Conference Committee at internationalpsychohistory@gmail.com with any questions or clarifications related to this conference. Please use the subject line “2024 IPhA Conference Related.” Thank you!!!

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