Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Maps & Directions

Evelin G. Lindner

Evelin G. Lindner is a social scientist with an interdisciplinary orientation. She holds two PhDs, one in medicine and a second in psychology. She is the Founding Director and President of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS), a global transdisciplinary network of academics and practitioners who wish to promote dignity and transcend humiliation. Details of her personal background and work are to be found on their website.

Dr. Lindner is the recipient of the 2006 SBAP Award. Her book Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict was published by Praeger/Greenwood in 2006, and honored as Outstanding Academic Publication in the 2008 list of the journal Choice.

Dr. Lindner designs her life as a global citizen in order to be able to develop HumanDHS globally. She teaches as guest professor wherever her path leads her on all continents, among others, at universities in Norway (University of Oslo, and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim), the Columbia University Conflict Resolution Network in New York, and the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme in Paris. She has taught, for example, in Japan (International Christian University, and Rikkyo University, Tokyo), Israel (Hebrew University, Jerusalem), Australia (Queensland University), or Costa Rica (United Nations-mandated University for Peace).

Dr. Lindner began with her work on humiliation in 1996/1997, with her doctoral research on the genocidal killings in Rwanda (1994), and Somalia (1988), on the backdrop of Hitler Germany. She defended her dissertation entitled The Psychology of Humiliation: Somalia, Rwanda / Burundi, and Hitler's Germany in 2001. Since then, she has expanded her studies, among others, in Europe, South East Asia, and the United States. She is currently building a theory of humiliation that is transcultural and transdisciplinary, entailing elements from anthropology, history, social philosophy, social psychology, sociology, and political science.

In 2001,Dr. Lindner set out to develop Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS). This network has since grown to ca. 1,000 invited members from all over the world, with the website enjoying more than 80,000 page views (of average two minutes) from 183 countries during the year of 2007.

The HumanDHS members believe that the sustainability of social cohesion and ecological survival requires a focus on human dignity, implemented with a mindset of cooperation and humility, rather than disrespect and humiliation. HumanDHS researchers and practitioners attempt to create public awareness for the destructive effects of humiliation, and to promote alternative approaches that generate and embody human dignity and respect.

The central human rights message is expressed in Article 1 of the of the Human Rights Declaration, which states that every human being is born with equal dignity (and ought not be humiliated). At the current point in human history, this ideal requires concerted action to be implemented, not just in the field of legal regulations, but in every sphere of human life, including architecture and the way we create our built environments. After disasters, communities are prone to suffer violations of dignity in numerous ways; however, disasters also offer a chance to implement novel solutions that highlight attention to human dignity as never before.

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