CV

David I. Backer, PhD
Assistant Professor of Social and Cultural Foundations
Department of Educational Foundations & Policy Studies
West Chester University of Pennsylvania
700 S. High Street
West Chester, PA
(e) dbacker@wcupa.edu

EDUCATION

Columbia University, New York, NY
PhD in Philosophy and Education, Teachers College, May 2014
Dissertation: “The Distortion of Discussion”
Dissertation Committee: Megan Laverty (Chair, Columbia University, Teachers College), Tyson Lewis (University of North Texas), David Hansen (Columbia University, Teachers College), Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon (Northwestern University), Daniel Friedrich (Columbia University, Teachers College) 

Columbia University, New York, NY
MPhil in Social and Political Philosophy, awarded with distinguished honors, June 2012

State University of New York-Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
MS in Interdisciplinary Studies/Education, June 2010
Thesis: “Measuring the Efficacy of Classroom Discussion: Harkness vs. Socratic Pedagogy”

George Washington University, Washington, DC
BA in Philosophy with a concentration in mathematics and logic, minor in biological anthropology, magna cum laude, 2006

ACADEMIC POSITIONS

Assistant Professor of Social and Cultural Foundations, Department of Educational Foundations & Policy Studies, College of Education and Social work, West Chester University, Pennsylvania.
EDF 300 Democracy and Education, Fall 2016 – Spring 2017
EDF 500 Research Methods, Fall 2016, Spring 2019, Spring 2021
EDD 704 Political and Legal Trends in Educational Policy, Spring 2017, Fall 2018- Fall 2020
EDF 582 Seminar in the History of Educational Problems, Summer 2017
EDF 583 American School as Social Narrative, Fall 2017, Fall 2018
EDD 801 – 804 Education Doctoral Research Seminar I – IV, 2017 – 2020    
EDF 580 History of American Education, Spring 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2021
EDH 545 Issues of Power and Privilege in Higher Education and Student Affairs, Fall 2018
EDO 510 Systems in Sustainability Education, Spring 2019
EDF 595 Critical Action Research Thesis – Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs, Spring 2019
EDF 511 Foundations of Transformative Education, Fall 2019-Fall 2020

Visiting Assistant Professor of Social Foundations, Department of Curriculum and Foundations, College of Education and Human Services, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio
Social Foundations of Education, Spring 2015, Fall 2015 (Face-to-face)
Social Foundations of Education, Summer 2015 (Online)
Social Issues in Education, Spring 2015, Fall 2015 (Face-to-face)
Social Issues in Education, Spring 2015, Summer 2015, Fall 2015 (Online)
Special Topics: History of Latin American Education, Fall 2015 (Face-to-face)
Preservice Teacher Candidate Supervisor-Middle School Math and Science, Spring 2015, Office of Field Services
Preservice Teacher Candidate Supervisor-High School Math and English, Fall 2015, Masters of Urban Secondary Teaching Program

Instructor and Chair, Theory of Knowledge Department, The American School of Quito, Ecuador
11th and 12th Grade Theory of Knowledge, 2008-2010

Instructor, English Department, Archbishop Carroll High School, Washington, DC
11th Grade American Literature, 2006-2008
12th Grade Introduction to Philosophy, 2007-2008
10th Grade Mathematical Thinking, 2007-2008


PUBLICATIONS

Books

Backer, David. I. (Forthcoming). Althusser and Education. Bloomsbury.

Backer, David I. (2019). The Gold and the Dross: Althusser for Educators. Brill-Sense.

Backer, David I. (2016). Elements of Discussion. Information Age Press.

Book-length Translations

Dussel, E. (2019). Pedagogics of Liberation: A Latin American Philosophy of Education. Trans., David I. Backer and C. Diego, Punctum Books. 

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Backer, D. I. (Forthcoming). “The Educational History of the Ideological State Apparatuses: Ranciere’s Frustration.” PES Yearbook 2020.

Backer, D. I. (2021). “History of the Reproduction-Resistance Dichotomy: The Line of Critique against Louis Althusser, 1974-1985.” Critical Education, 12(6).

Backer, D. I. (2020). “Ideology and Education.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education

Backer, D. I. (2020). “School Funding Inequality in Pennsylvania: A Base-Superstructure Analysis.” Pennsylvania Educational Leadership Journal, 39(2). 

Backer, D. I. (2020). “A Socialist Guide to Education Talk.” GroundWorks. Published online: https://www.philosophyofeducation.org/committee-on-professional-affairs

Backer, D. I. (2020). “Althusser on School Law.” Legal Form. Published online: https://legalform.blog/2020/02/13/backer-althusser-school-law/

Lussier, J. & Backer, D. I. (2019). “Recovering the Marxist Feminist Eye.” Philosophy of Education Yearbook 2019.

Backer, D. I. (2018). “Radical Discussions: Agonistic Democratic Education.” Philosophy of Education Yearbook 2017

Backer, D. I. (2018). “Interpellation, Counterinterpellation, and Education.” Critical Education, 9(12), 1-21.

Backer, D. I. (2018). “The Distortion of Discussion.” Issues in Teacher Education, 27 (1). 

Backer, D. I. (2017.) “Making the Co-operative School a Challenge Alternative: Revisiting Social Reproduction Theory.” Journal of Co-operative Studies, Vol. 50 (1), 17-27.

Backer, D. I. (2017). “The Politics of Recitation: Interpellation, Hegemony, and Reproduction.” Harvard Educational Review, 87 (3). 

Backer, D. I. (2017). “Is Discussion An Exchange of Ideas? Money, Speech, and Education.” Philosophical Inquiry in Education, 24 (4), p. 295-309.

Backer, D. I. (2017). “The Critique of Deliberative Discussion: A Response.” Democracy & Education, 25 (1). 

Backer, D. I. (2017). “The Mass Psychology of Classroom Discourse.” Educational Theory, 67(1), 34-60. 

Backer, D. (2016). “The Purpose of Online Discussion.” Hybrid Pedagogy. http://www.digitalpedagogylab.com/hybridped/purpose-online-discussion/

Backer, D. (2015). “Horizontal Pedagogy in Occupy Wall Street: Operationalizing Andy Merrifield’s Notion of the Encounter.” The SoJo Journal: Educational Foundations and Social Justice. 1(2). 

Backer, D. and Lewis, T. (2015). “The Studious University: A Marxist-Psychoanalytic Groundwork.” Cultural Politics, 11(3).

Backer, D. and Lewis, T. (2015). “Retaking the Test.” Educational Studies: A Journal of the American Educational Studies Association, 51(3).

Backer, D. & J. Wozniak. (2014). “Introduction.” In Lapiz: Proceedings from the Latin American Philosophy of Education Society’s Annual Symposium. Diego, C. (Ed.) 

Policy Reports

Rodriguez, Akira Drake, Daniel Aldana Cohen, Kira McDonald, Nick Graetz, Erika Kitzmiller, David I. Backer, and Billy Fleming (2021). A Green Stimulus for K-12 Schools. Philadelphia: climate + community project.

Book Chapters

Backer, D. I. (2019). “Discussion: A Radical View.” In D. Ford (Ed.) Keywords in Radical Philosophy of Education. Brill-Sense.

Backer, D. I. (2018). “Socialist Grading.” In K.Haltinner (Ed.) Teaching Economic Inequality and Capitalism. Springer.

Backer, D. I.  (2017). “Educating the Commons through Cooperatively-run Schools.” In D. Ford, G. Slater, A. Means (Eds.) Educational Commons in Theory and Practice. Palgrave.

Backer, D. & M. Bissen, J. Wozniak, J. North, J. Laroche, C. Casuccio, Z. Mackin, C. Szendler. (2017). “What is Horizontal Pedagogy?” In R. Haworth and J. Elmore (Eds.) Out of the Ruins: The Emergence of Radical Informal Learning Spaces, PM Press.

Backer, D. I. (2016). “Towards an Activist Theory of Language.” In J. Hannan (Ed.) Truth in the Public Sphere. Lexington Books.

Backer, D. (2015). “The Conference Method, or Harkness Pedagogy: Listening for Discussion.” In Listening to Teach: Beyond Didactic Pedagogy, ed. Leonard Waks. State University of New York Press: Albany.

Winkler, D.L., Andermann, R., Moore, J., & Backer, D. (2015). “Social Studies for the Gifted Student.” In T. Kettler (Ed.) Modern Curriculum for Gifted and Advanced Students. Prufrock Press.

Essay Translations

Paredes, J. (2018). “FEMINISMO COMUNITARIO DE ABYA YALA,” trans. Anita Juarez and David I. Backer, Lapiz Vol. 3. http://lapes.org/publications/lapiz/lapiz-three/LapizN3-LAPES.pdf

Dussel, E. (2018). “A Brief Note on Pedagogics,” trans. David I. Backer and Chris Casuccio, Lapiz Vol. 3. http://lapes.org/publications/lapiz/lapiz-three/LapizN3-LAPES.pdf

Book Reviews

Backer, D., D’Hoest, F., Ford, D., Rocha, S., Lewis, T. (2016). “Review Symposium: Studying Study With a Reply by Tyson Lewis.” Policy Futures in Education.

Backer, D. (2015). Book Review of Marx, Capital, and Education, by C. Malott and D. Ford. Educational Philosophy and Theory.

Backer, D. (2015). Book Review of As Free and as Just as Possible: The Theory of Marxian Liberalism, by J. Reiman. Teachers College Record. February 25, 2015. 

Backer, D. (2014). Book Review of Teaching Marx: The Socialist Challenge. Teachers College Record. J. Elmore, C. Malott, and M. Cole (Eds). September 18, 2014.

Backer, D. (2011). Book Review of On Critique: A Sociology of Emancipation by Luc Boltanski. (General Audience). Full-Stop.net. http://www.full-stop.net/2012/09/14/reviews/david-backer/on-critique-luc-boltanski/

General Audience

Cairns, K. & Backer, D. I. (2019). “Meeting Needs.” n+1 online

Backer, D. I. (2019). “Uses and Abuses of Class Separatism.” Verso Blog.

Backer, D. I. (2018). “Race and Class Reductionism Today.” Verso Blog

Backer, D. I. & Cairns, K. (2017). “Movement Pedagogy: Beyond the Class/Identity Impasse.” Viewpoint Magazine. Published online: https://www.viewpointmag.com/2017/12/21/movement-pedagogy-beyond-class-identity-impasse/

Backer, D. I. (2017). “A Democrat Against Democracy.” Jacobin Magazine. Published online: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/05/corporate-education-reform-dwight-evans

Backer, D. I. (2016). “The False Promise of Education.” Jacobin Magazine. Published online: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/11/education-reform-inequality-jobs-economy/

Chaired Dissertations 

Negotiating Difference: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Writing Center Interactions Between Peer Tutors and Multilingual Tutees, Lisa DiMaio (2020)

Moments of Reflection: A Phenomenological Study of Preservice Teacher Reflection, Jane Ferris (2020)

Professional Learning Communities in an Elementary School: Teacher Perceptions, Implementation, and Impacts, Michael Garvin (2020)

Creating Project-Based Math Curricula: A Narrative Inquiry, Marcie Hull (2020)

Feminism and Critical Literacy in an All-Boys School, Cara Saraco (2018)

The Participation Gap: A Mixed Methods Study of Racial Inequalities in Extracurricular Activities in a Predominantly White School District, Christopher Lunardi (2018)

Time to Meet: The Value of Common Planning Time for Middle School Teachers and Paraprofessionals, Shawn Cruice (2018)

The Impact of Peer Mentoring on Undergraduate Music Major Mentee Self-Efficacy and Retention, Ralph Sorrentino (2018)

Chaired Theses

“We’ve Got Your Back: A Programmatic Approach to Helping Injured Students,” Alex Deliso. (2019)

“Where Do I Belong?: The Importance and Necessity of Centers for Trans and Queer Students,” Alexander Hazzard. (2019)

“Embracing Ambiguity in Higher Education: Intervening in Undecidedness to Achieve Success,” Christine Denis. (2019)

“The Intersectional Struggles of Community College Transfer Students,” Christopher Stancil. (2019)

“Incorporating Neurodiverse Practices to Ensure Student Success,” Ethan Wasserman. (2019)

“Leadership Agency: Engaging Students in a Developmental Process for Change,” Olivia Miller. (2019)

“OUTLINE: A Shift in Support Services for Gen Z Students Coming Out on Campus,” Shannon Gillespie. (2019)

“Strength in Supervision: A Professional Development Model for Student Affairs Graduate-Professionals,” Stephen Babb. (2019)

OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Adjunct Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City
Graduate Seminar: Readings in Communication Theory and Social Thought, Fall 2014
Introduction to Philosophies of Education, Fall 2013

Student Support Specialist, Guttman Community College, City University of New York
Planned and implemented programs for at-risk students, worked with at-risk students one-on-one to improve study skills and classroom experience, Fall 2014

Adjunct Professor, Guttman Community College, City University of New York
Environmental Ethics, Fall 2013
Foundations of Humanities, Spring 2014
Studio, Spring 2013-Fall 2014

MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Instructor, Columbia Secondary School
8th Grade Bioethics, August 2010-2011
6th Grade Philosophy of Mathematics, August 2010-2011

CONFERENCES 

Backer, D. I. “The Structure of Race and Education: Althusser, Hall, and Leonardo.” Presented to the New England Philosophy of Education Society, October 2020.

Backer, D. I. “Educational History of the Ideological State Apparatuses: Ranciere’s Frustration.” Presented to the Annual Meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society, March 2020. 

Backer, D. I. “History of the Reproduction-Resistance Dichotomy: The Line of Critique against Louis Althusser, 1970-1979.” Presented to the Critical Theories in the Twenty First Century: A Conference on Transformative Pedagogies, November 2019. 

Backer, D. I. “Some Advances in the Concept of Interpellation: Agency, Struggle, and Education.” Submitted to the Ninth Annual International Conference on Child and Teen Consumption, Rutgers-Camden, June 2020.

Lussier, J. & Backer, D. I. “Recovering the Marxist Feminist Eye.” Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society, Richmond, VA, March 2019.

Backer, D. I. “Strikes and Resistance.” Presentation as part of the “Teacher Resistance in Troubled Times” Panel at the Annual Meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society, Richmond, VA, March 2019. 

“Socialist Grading as Counter-interpellation.” Paper presentation as part of the “Rethinking the Pedagogy of Critical Theory” stream at the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, March 2019.

“Philosophy of Education in Social Movement: Social Movements and the Formation of Philosophy of Education.” Panel presentation with Jason T. Wozniak to the Annual Meeting of the  Philosophy of Education Society, Chicago, IL, March 2018.

Organizer. Latin American Philosophy of Education Society Annual Symposium, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, March 2018.

“Is The Classroom Political?” Paper accepted to the Northeastern Philosophy of Education Society (NEPES) Annual Conference, Boston, MA, October 2017.

Organizer. Critical Theories of Education Today. West Chester University and Philadelphia, PA, November 2017.

Organizer. Latin American Philosophy of Education Society Annual Symposium, California Institute for Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA, May 2017.

“What Co-operative Schools Can Reproduce.” Paper presented to the Third Annual Co-operative Education Research Conference, Manchester, UK, April 2017.

“Radical Discussions: Agonistic Democratic Education.” Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society, Seattle, March 2017.

“Encounter, Solidarity, and Education at Trump Tower: Horizontal Pedagogy in Occupy Wall Street.” Paper presented to the “Pedagogies for Solidarity: Education for Collective Consciousness” panel at the American Sociological Association, Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, August 2016.

Invited Participant. Civic Now! A Two Day Celebration of the Manifesto. Co-sponsored by punctum books, GTK Press and the Beamer-Schneider Professorship in Ethics, Case Western Reserve University. July 19-20, 2016, Cleveland, OH. 

Participant. The People’s Summit. Sponsored by the National Nurses United, People for Bernie, and Democratic Socialists of America. Chicago, June 15-17, 2016.

“The Latin American Philosophy of Education Society: An Introduction.” Panel presentation with Jason T. Wozniak, Ana Cecilia Diego, and Tomas Rocha at the Coloquio Internacional América Latina y Estados Unidos: Diálogo de Saberes, New School for Social Research, New York City, May 2016.

Book Launch, Elements of Discussion. Respondents: Bill E. Lawson, Paula McAvoy, Jessica L. Hochman, Derek R. Ford. Philosophy of Education Society Annual Meeting, Toronto, CA, March 2016. 

“Education and Counter-interpellation: A New Look at Louis Althusser.” Session Organizer with a paper, “Introduction to Counter-interpellation: Freedom, Discussion, and Relations of Production,” to be presented to the American Educational Research Association national conference, Washington, DC, April 2016.

“Discussing a New Relation of Production.” Paper accepted to the American Educational Studies Association national conference, San Antonio, TX, November 2015.

“The Politics of Recitation.” Paper presented to the Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society annual conference in Dayton, OH, September 2015.

“Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz y su concepto de estudio.” Co-presenter with Ana Cecilia Galinda Diego at the Asociación Latinoamericana de Filosofia de la Educación international conference in Mexico City, July 1, 2015.

“Tinkering Talk: Discussion and Dehiscence.” Paper presented to the American Educational Research Association national conference in Chicago, IL, April 24, 2015.

“Teacher Listening and Social Justice: Listening to Enact Justice and Transformation in the Pursuit of Education.” Discussant for panel at the American Educational Research Association national conference in Chicago, IL, April 24, 2015.

“Saying Revolution: Education, Communication, and Social Change in New York City and Nicaragua.” Paper presented to the American Association of Geographers national conference in Chicago, IL, April 21, 2015.

PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY MEMBERSHIPS

Northeastern Philosophy of Education Society
Philosophy of Education Society
Latin American Philosophy of Education Society
American Educational Research Association
American Sociological Association
Democratic Socialists of America

INVITED TALKS/PRESENTATIONS

“Organizing After George Floyd.” Presented to the Department of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies, West Chester University, Department Retreat, August 2020.

“Addressing the Other Pandemic (Racism): Ideology, Equity, and Higher Education.” Co-presented with Dr. Dana Morrison to West Chester University’s College of Education and Social Work’s Welcome Session, August 2020.

“School Funding in the COVID Crisis: Socialist Approaches.” Presentation and workshop to the Local Initiative/Local Action Committee in Philadelphia, PA. August 2020.

Invited Speaker. Enrique Dussel’s Pedagogics of Liberation. Bournemouth University, UK. Feb. 13, 2020.

Invited Speaker. Enrique Dussel’s Pedagogics of Liberation. University of Winchester, UK. Feb. 11, 2020.

Invited Speaker. Introducing Enrique Dussel’s Pedagogics of Liberation. Penn State University, Jan. 30th, 2020.

Invited Speaker. Faculté des Lettres et des sciences Humaines- Université de Limoges. Le réseau international Amérique latine, Afrique, Europe, Caraïbes (ALEC) et la West Chester University of Pennsylvania (USA), January 29, 2020.

Invited Speaker. Introducing Enrique Dussel’s Pedagogics of Liberation. Haverford College, November 25th, 2019.

“A Socialist Approach to School Funding Inequality in Philadelphia.” Invited Presentation to the Our City Our Schools and Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America Chapter. December 8, 2019. 

Invited Speaker. Enrique Dussel’s Pedagogics of Liberation: A Launch. Barnard College, October 15th, 2019.

Guest on WCPN’s “Sound of Ideas” Radio Program, on Cleveland, Ohio’s National Public Radio Station. Discussed the question of Educational Inequality and School Desegregation with Dr. Ainsley Erickson (Teachers College, Columbia University); Dr. Ronnie Dunn (Cleveland State University). Link: http://wcpn.ideastream.org/programs/sound-of-ideas/education-inequality

FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS

Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center Annual Essay Prize, 2015 ($1,000)
Doctoral Dissertation Grant, Columbia University, Teachers College, Spring 2014 ($5,000)
Weinberg Fellowship, Columbia University, Teachers College, Fall 2010-Spring 2012

GRANTS

CESW-PDG (Professional Development Grant (2018) – College of Education and Social Work) $4,000 for the funding and organization of the Latin American Philosophy of Education Society annual symposium, Spring 2018.

Spencer Foundation Conference Grant (2017) – Developed proposal to bring together an international group of philosophers of education to study the work of Louis Althusser and collectively publish writings on Althusser’s usefulness in educational policy. (Grant unfunded.)

PROFESSIONAL SERVICE

Latin American Philosophy of Education Subcommittee, Department of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies. AY 2020-2021.

Chair of External Organizing Committee, APSCUF, AY 2018-2020.

Advising Committee for Doctorate of Education Administration, Planning, and Policy Program, College of Education and Social Work, AY 2017-2020.

APSCUF State Delegate, AY 2018-2020.

Program Coordinator for Critical Theories of Education Today Conference, Fall 2018.

Member of Task Force to create a certificate in Urban Education for the Masters of Science in Transformative Education and Social Change program, Fall 2018.

Member of Task Force to create a certificate in Latin American Educational Philosophy for the Masters of Science in Transformative Education and Social Change program, Fall 2018. 

Section Head, Foundations, Department of Educational Foundations & Policy Studies, AY 2018-2019.

Member of Task Force on Urban Education convened by Asst. Dean David L. Bell, Spring 2018, WCU College of Education and Social Work. Developed internal survey for the College of Education and Social Work to determine courses and faculty teaching relevant material for a potential Urban Education track.

Graduate Curriculum Working Group, WCU’s Bayard Rustin Urban Community Axis (RUCCAS). Authored syllabus for RUX 525, “Urban Power and Resistance,” AY 2018-2019.

Member of International Education Committee, WCU College of Education and Social Work, AY 2017-2018. 

Graduate Coordinator for Department of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies, West Chester University, 2017-2018 academic year.

Conference Organizer, Critical Theories of Education Today, November 2017.

Faculty advising and support for WCU chapter of Pennsylvania Student Power Network, 2016-2017.

Department Representative, APSCUF, 2016-2018.

Search Committee for Assessment and Evaluation Position in Department of Professional and Secondary Education, Spring 2017.

Program Chair, Critical Theories in the 21st Century Conference, West Chester University, Fall 2016.

Associate Editor, Lapiz, Journal of the Latin American Philosophy of Education Society, Vols. 1-3, 2013-2016

Co-founder, Latin American Philosophy of Education Society, March 2013

Program Chair, Graduate Student Conference in Philosophy of Education, 2012

Member, Graduate Student Committee, Program in Philosophy and Education, Teachers College,

Columbia University, 2011-2012

Website editor, Program in Philosophy and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, 2010-2012

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