Everyone seems to use the word, “dignity,” but the more it’s used, the less we seem able to really define it. Some philosophers have even suggested human dignity is a useless concept.
So, what is human dignity in this contemporary moment? How can we define such a construct without obscuring “substantial power differentials between diversely situated groups” (Oliviero 40)? What does it even mean to tether “dignity” with the prerequisite that one has to be human in order to possess or enact it? After all, both humans and nonhumans have been made “varyingly vulnerable” because of climate change, war, and the uneven distribution of resources (Niccolini & Ringrose 2).
The goal of the Human Dignity Project’s multiple research teams is to investigate these questions by researching dignity in practice.
That is, we consider the questions above, but we do so without sacrificing a keen attunement to the ways “globalization, technoscience, late capitalism and climate change” inform possible answers (Herbrechter 94). Ultimately, we are interested in understanding the actionable shifts care-taking practices need to embrace such that they resist “the inhuman structures of our times” (Braidotti & Hlavajova 12).
Together, we study how human dignity is enacted during periods of crisis and/or limited resources; how human dignity is practiced in clinical spaces with wheelchair users; and how human dignity is written into legislative acts and policies.
If you have questions about our work, feel free to email HumanDignityProject@osu.edu.
Braidotti, R., & Hlavajova, M. (Eds.). (2018). Posthuman Glossary. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Herbrechter, S. (2013). Posthumanism: A Critical Analysis. A & C Black.
Niccolini, A.D. & Ringrose, J. (2019). “Research methods: Feminist posthumanism.” Sage Publications.
Oliviero, K. (2018). Vulnerability Politics: The Uses and Abuses of Precarity in Political Debate. NYU Press.