David A. J. Richards’s Resisting Injustice and The Feminist Ethics of Care in The Age of Obama: "Suddenly,…All The Truth Was Coming Out" builds on his and Carol Gilligan’s The Deepening Darkness to examine the roots of the resistance movements of the 1960s, the political psychology behind contemporary conservatism, and President Obama’s present-day appeal as well as the reasons for the reactionary politics against him.
Richards begins by laying out the basics of the ethics of care and proposing an alternative basis for ethics: relationality, which is based in convergent findings in infant research, neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology. He critically analyzes patriarchal politics and states that they are rooted in a reactionary psychology that attacks human relationality and ethics. From there, the book examines the 1960s resistance movements and argues that they were fundamentally oriented around challenging patriarchy. Richards asserts that the reactionary politics in America from the 1960s to the present are in service of an American patriarchy threatened by the resistance movements ranging from the 1960s civil rights movements to the present gay rights movement. Reactionary politics intend to marginalize and even reverse the ethical achievements accomplished by resistance movements—creating, in effect, a system of patriarchy hiding in democracy. Richards consequently argues that Obama’s appeal is connected to his challenge to this system of patriarchy and will examine both Obama’s appeal and the reactions against him in light of the 2012 presidential election.
This book positions recent American political development in a broad analysis of the role of patriarchy in human oppression throughout history, and argues that a feminist-based ethics of care is necessary to form a more humane and inclusive democratic politics.
Table of Contents
Introduction. 1: An Ethics of Care 2: Resistance in the 1960’s and Later 3: The Reactionary Politics of Patriarchy Under Threat: Patriarchy Hiding in Democracy 4: Obama’s Resistance to Patriarchy 5: The Ethics of Care: Reclaiming Feminism for Democracy
David A.J. Richards is Edwin D. Webb Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, where he teaches constitutional law and criminal law and, with Carol Gilligan, a seminar, Resisting Injustice. He is the author of seventeen books, including, most recently, Disarming Manhood: The Roots of Ethical Resistance (2005); The Case for Gay Rights: From Bowers to Lawrence and Beyond (2005); Patriarchal Religion, Sexuality, and Gender: A Critique of New Natural Law (with Nicholas Bamforth, 2008); The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchal Resistance and Democracy’s Future (with Carol Gilligan, 2009); Fundamentalism in American Religion and Law: Obama’s Challenge to Patriarchy’s Threat to Democracy (2010), and The Rise of Gay Rights and the Fall of the British Empire: Liberal Resistance and the Bloomsbury Group (forthcoming, 2013).
"Richards provides a sweeping analysis of the central place of the value of care in the civil rights movement and other progressive political movements in the United States during the last half-century. The book is essential reading for understanding the important, if often overlooked, place of care in American political life, its contribution to a more inclusive democracy, and the fundamental challenge it represents to patriarchy."
—Daniel Engster, University of Texas at San Antonio
"An illuminating exploration of how patriarchy damages psyches and promotes violence. Looking at the historical record as well as developmental psychology, Richards shows the potential of a feminist ethics of care to support resistance to patriarchy and to foster good relationships. The result is an optimistic view of the progress that is possible.
—Virginia Held, City University of New York