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About The Authors



David A.J. Richards received his B.A. from Harvard College (1966) and J.D. from Harvard Law School (1971), and his D.Phil. in moral philosophy from Oxford University (1971). His doctoral dissertation was published by Oxford University Press as A Theory of Reasons for Action in 1971.   


He is currently Edwin D. Webb Professor of Law at New York University, where he has taught Constitutional Law and Criminal Law for thirty-five years and co-taught a seminar Resisting Injustice with the developmental psychologist Carol Gilligan as well as a seminar Retributivism in Criminal Justice (Shakespeare) with the psychiatrist Jim Gilligan,  with whom he co-authored Holding a Mirror up to Nature:  Shame,  Guilt, and Violence in Shakespeare (2021).  


Richards has written over twenty books on human rights and the basic constitutional rights of American constitutionalism as well as studies of nonviolence (resisting patriarchal violence),  Verdi’s operas, and mutual love as the key to resisting injustice (some of these books are noted in the selective bibliography,  below),  including his prominent defense of gay rights and a feminism which joins men and women in resisting injustice (co-authoring two books on this subject with Carol Gilligan).   His work on gay rights was prominently cited by the Indian Supreme Court decision recently recognizing gay rights as human rights).  He lives in New York City with his partner of forty-five years,  the philosopher, Donald Levy. In his recent memoir, Boys' Secrets and Men's Loves: A Memoir, Richards writes poignantly of his personal experience of how patriarchy harms men as well as women, and how men, both straight and gay, come to resist, and how he resisted as a young man through philosophy, the arts, and the experience of mutual love.

Complete Bibliography below selected books:

Bibliography (selective),  David A.J. Richards

  • A Theory of Reasons for Action  (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971);

  • Sex, Drugs, Death, and the Law: An Essay on Human Rights and Overcriminalization (Totowa, N. J.:  Rowman & Littlefield, 1982);

  • Toleration and the Constitution New York: Oxford University Press (1986);

  • Foundations of American Constitutionalism  (New York: Oxford University Press 1989);

  • Conscience and the Constitution:  History, Theory and Law of  the Reconstruction Amendments (Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 1993);

  • Women, Gays, and the Constitution: The Grounds for Feminism and Gay Rights in Culture and Law (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1998);

  • Italian American: The Racializing of an Ethnic Identity (New York: New York University Press, 1999);

  • Identity and the Case for Gay Rights: Race, Gender, Religion as Analogies     (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999);  

  • Free Speech and the Politics of Identity  (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999);  

  • Tragic Manhood and Democracy:  Verdi’s Voice and the Powers of Musical  (Brighton, UK: Sussex University Press, 2004);

  • Disarming Manhood: Roots of Ethical Resistance (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University, Swallows Press, 2005);  

  • Nicholas C. Bamforth and David A.J. Richards, Patriarchal Religion, Sexuality and Gender: A Critique of New Natural Law (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008);  

  • Carol Gilligan and David A.J. Richards, The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchy, Resistance, and Democracy's Future (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009);  

  • Fundamentalism in American Religion and Law: Obama’s Challenge to Patriarchy’s Threat to Democracy (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010);  

  • The Rise of Gay Rights and the Fall of the British Empire:  Liberal Resistance and the Bloomsbury Group (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010);  

  • Resisting Injustice and the Feminist Ethics of Care in the Age of Obama: “Suddenly, All the Truth Was Coming Out “(New York, Routledge,  2010);  

  • Carol Gilligan and David A.J. Richards,  Darkness Now Visible:  Patriarchy’s Resurgence and Feminist Resistance (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018);   

  • Boys’ Secrets and Men’s Loves:  a Memoir (Bloomington, IND, Xlibris, 2019) 

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