David L. Richards
Political Science and Human Rights
Ph.D. Binghamton University
David Richards is an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut, with appointments in both the Department of Political Science and the Human Rights Institute.
David’s body of work on human rights includes more than two-dozen studies of: gender-violence law, the measurement of government respect for human rights including torture, US public support for torture, and the effects of globalization on human rights respect, among others. He has also authored reports for governments and international organizations.
Some current projects include studies of: torture in the time of COVID; sexual violence as torture; the language of torture in narratives; and best-practices in teaching college students about torture.
David Richards is likely best known as the co-founder/director of the now-archived Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Data Project. Funded multiple times by the National Science Foundation and World Bank, among others, this project provided information on the level of government respect for 16 human rights in 196 countries from 1981 to 2012. The CIRI Project’s data have been used by international organizations such as the United Nations and World Bank, and in 170 countries by governments, media, activists, businesses, scholars, and students.
David’s book (with Jill Haglund, Univ. of Kentucky) Violence Against Women and the Law (Routledge 2015), examines the strength of laws addressing four types of violence against women–rape, marital rape, domestic violence, and sexual harassment–in 196 countries from 2007 to 2010. Of central importance is the question of why these laws exist in some places and not others, and why they are stronger or weaker in places where they do exist. The book’s original data allow the testing of various hypotheses related to whether international law drives the enactment of domestic legal protections. Also examined are the ways in which these legal protections are related to economic, political, and social institutions, and how transnational society affects the presence and strength of these laws.