This article examines Hebrew translations of World War II–era psychology handbooks as means of transmission for scientific knowledge and as a mechanism for the cross-cultural spread of behavioral modernity. While drawing a broad, vivid picture of transnational military mobilities postwar, the article centers on the story of one such handbook: John Dollard’s Fear in Battle, a 1943 self-help guide on combat behavior. Produced in the context of efforts to manage the morale of American troops, Fear in Battle then traveled overseas along with volunteers, mercenaries, and special advisors from the former Allied powers, and played a role in decolonization and nation-building in the Middle East. The article reconstructs each phase of the text’s geopolitical and institutional itinerary: the experimental work on aversive conditioning that led to its writing and the larger neobehaviorist agenda it formed a part of; its function within the United States Army and subsequent transit to Palestine; and its translation into two new versions that circulated among Jewish militia members during the 1948 Palestine War. Analyzing in detail changes in language, style and format, the article thus aims to unpack the process by which behavioral science had been vernacularized and its mode of explanation went global.
Fear in Hebrew: Militarized Behaviorism and the Cultural Politics of Science in Translation
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Tal Arbel; Fear in Hebrew: Militarized Behaviorism and the Cultural Politics of Science in Translation. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 1 November 2019; 49 (5): 471–503. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/hsns.2019.49.5.471
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