Carol Gilligan received an A.B. with highest honors in English literature from Swarthmore College, a masters degree in clinical psychology from Radcliffe College and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University. Her landmark book In A Different Voice (1982) is described by Harvard University Press as “the little book that started a revolution.” Following In A Different Voice, she initiated the Harvard Project on Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development and co-authored or edited five books with her students: Mapping the Moral Domain (1988); Making Connections (1990); Women, Girls, and Psychotherapy: Reframing Resistance (1991); Meeting at the Crossroads: Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development (1992) — a New York Times notable book of the year — and Between Voice and Silence: Women and Girls, Race and Relationships (1995). Her 2002 book The Birth of Pleasure, was described by The Times Literary Supplement as “a thrilling new paradigm.” She has received a Senior Research Scholar Award from the Spencer Foundation, a Grawemeyer Award for her contributions to education, a Heinz Award for her contributions to understanding the human condition, and was named by Time Magazine in 1996 as one of the 25 most influential Americans.
Following her research on women and girls’ development, she studied young boys and their parents and explored impasses in man-woman relationships. The Strengthening Healthy Resistance and Courage in Girls programs, the Women Teaching Girls/Girls Teaching Women retreats, and the In Our Own Voices workshops she developed with her colleagues have become model intervention and prevention projects. She was a member of the Harvard faculty for over 30 years and in 1997 became Harvard’s first professor of Gender Studies, occupying the Patricia Albjerg Graham chair. In 1992, she was Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at the University of Cambridge.
In 2002, she became University Professor at New York University, with affiliations in the School of Law, the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Her 2009 book The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchy, Resistance, and Democracy’s Future, co-authored with David A. J. Richards, was published by Cambridge University Press. Her most recent book, Joining the Resistance, was published by Polity Press in 2011. She teaches a seminar on resisting injustice with David Richards at the Law School and seminars on The Listening Guide Method of Psychological Inquiry at the Steinhardt School. In 2011, she gave master classes on the Listening Guide for history Ph.D. students at the University of Cambridge and for psychologists at the University of Brussels.
Her first novel, Kyra, was published by Random House in 2008. Her play, “The Scarlet Letter,” coauthored with her son, Jonathan Gilligan, was presented at the Culture Project’s WomenCenterStage festival in New York City in 2005 and 2007. The play has now become the libretto for an opera, “Pearl,” which had its first workshop performance at Shakespeare & Company in August, 2012. The opera will be part of a Chinese-American cultural exchange in Shanghai in March, 2013, and will be performed again in workshop format at Shakespeare & Company on August 5, 2013.