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David A.J. Richards

Law Professor, Moral Philosopher & Author

David A.J. Richards is an American constitutional lawyer, a moral philosopher and an 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 called Resisting Injustice with the developmental psychologist Carol Gilligan as well as a seminar on Retributivism in Criminal Justice with the psychiatrist Jim Gilligan, with whom he recently co-authored the book 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, Verdi’s operas, and mutual love as the key to resisting injustice, including his prominent defense of gay rights and of feminism. Richards provides powerful critique and analysis of patriarchy in Disarming Manhood: Roots of Ethical Resistance, and in The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchy, Resistance, and Democracy's Future and Darkness Now Visible:  Patriarchy’s Resurgence and Feminist Resistance co-authored with Carol Gilligan.

His work on gay rights was prominently cited by the Indian Supreme Court decision that recently recognized 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.

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).

Politics Male Violence Patriarchy Art

Shakespeare’s Murderers

Jan. 3, 2023

Centuries before psychoanalysis was born, William Shakespeare was analyzing the root causes of male violence and giving detailed, intimate, almost microscopic second-to-second descriptions of what goes on in the minds and he…