Contribution to Book
Inventing Human DignityThe Routledge Companion to Human Rights and Literature (2015)
Are human beings endowed with an inviolable dignity? Or is dignity something that is lost and won? One of the most significant assertions made in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the statement that every individual possesses an inalienable dignity simply by virtue of belonging to the “human family.” This chapter aims to make a modest contribution to the emerging scholarship on the history and meaning of dignity as it pertains to universal human rights. My goal is to trace how this particular quality came to be affixed to the human person. The chief proposition is that the invention of photography and the rapid explosion in photographic portraiture in particular had a great impact on the ascension of the idea of human dignity. The American abolitionist Frederick Douglass serves as exemplar.
EditorAlexandra Moore and Sophie McClennan
Citation InformationSharon Sliwinski. "Inventing Human Dignity" LondonThe Routledge Companion to Human Rights and Literature (2015)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sharon_sliwinski/23/