David I. Backer is a teacher, activist, and philosopher of 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 2012State 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

Other Publications

Backer, D. (2016). Elements of Discussion. Information Age Press.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.)Montero, M. and Backer, D. (2010). “The Advantages of Learning a Dominant Language: Lacan and Second Language Learning.” Humanising Language Teaching, 12 (5).


Commonsplace podcast – News, voices, and analysis from the cooperative economy of the United States. commonsplace.org, @commons_placeLatin American Philosophy of Education Society

Upcoming Talks and Conferences

“What Cooperative Schools Can Reproduce.” Paper accepted to the Third Annual Cooperative Education Research Conference, Manchester, UK, April 2017.“Radical Discussions: Agonistic Democratic Education.” Paper accepted at the Annual Meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society, Seattle, March 2017.


Philosophy of Education SocietyLatin American Philosophy of Education SocietyDemocratic Socialists of America

David Backer

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