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Barbara Thayer-Bacon

Barbara Thayer-Bacon, PhD

Professor, Cultural Studies


Barbara J. Thayer-Bacon teaches graduate courses on philosophy and history of education, and cultural diversity at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Her primary research areas are:  philosophy of education, pragmatism, feminist theory and pedagogy, and cultural studies in education.  She is coordinator for the Cultural Studies in Education masters and doctoral concentrations, and certificate.  She is editor-in-chief of the journal Studies in Philosophy and Education.  She is an active member in numerous professional organizations, such as American Educational Research Association, American Educational Studies Association, Philosophy of Education Society, and International Network of Philosophy of Education, and presents papers regularly at their conferences, as well as serves in leadership roles.  She is the author of over twenty-five chapters in essay collections and over seventy journal articles, published in professional journals such as The Journal of Thought, Educational Theory, Studies in Philosophy and Education, Inquiry, Educational Foundations, and Educational Studies.  She has presented over a hundred conference papers and delivered multiple keynote addresses.  She has written six books and co-edited one, Education Feminism, with Lynda Stone and Katharine Sprecher.  Her most recent books are:  Democracies Always in the Making: Historical and Current Philosophical Issues for Education (Lanham:  Rowman & Littlefield, 2013) and Relational Ontologies (New York:  Peter Lang, 2017).


Professional Background 


Research Interests

  • Philosophy of Education
  • Pragmatism
  • Feminist Theory and Pedagogy
  • Cultural Studies in Education


Doctor of Philosophy (Education / Philosophy of Education), Indiana University   

Master of Arts (Education / Curriculum and Instruction), San Diego State University

Bachelor of Arts  (Liberal Arts / Philosophy), Rutgers University and Pennsylvania State University      


Professional Service

Recent Administrative Experiences

Program Area Coordinator, Cultural Studies in Education (masters), 2002-2006, 2008-present

Certificate Coordinator, Cultural Studies in Education, 2014-present 

Program Area Coordinator, Learning Environments and Educational Studies (doctoral level), 2013-2017

Team Leader, Cultural Studies in Education (doctoral, specialization), 2017-present 

Recent Service to Department and College

TPTE departmental Institutional Review Board (IRB) officer (qualitative research), 2018-present 

Tenure & Promotion committee member, 2018-present 

 Professional Memberships

  • John Dewey Society
  • Philosophy of Education Society
  • American Educational Studies Association
  • Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy
  • International Network of Philosophers of Education
  • International Association of Women Philosophers
  • American Philosophy Association
  • American Education Research Association, and special interest groups in Philosophical Studies in Education and Research on Women and Education

 Editorial Responsibilities

Editor, International Education, 2008 – 2015

Editor-in-Chief, Studies in Philosophy and Education, 2015 - present

Journal Editorial Board Member

  • Education and Culture, 2004-present
  • Teaching and Learning in a Pluralistic Society, Dilemmas, Perplexities and Tensions, 2005-present

Awards and Recognitions

University of Tennessee Teaching & Learning Innovation Center, Inclusive

Pedagogy Award, 2019

External Examiner, Monash University, Australia, Jan, 2018

University of Tennessee Chancellor’s Excellence in Advising Award, 2017

External Examiner, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, Jan, 2016

Keynote Speaker, Pedagogy of Hope Conference, Liverpool Hope University,

UK, June, 2015

Democracies Always in the Making, American Educational

Studies Association Critics’ Choice Book Award, 2015.

Education Feminism: Classic and Contemporary Readings,

American Educational Studies Association Critics’ Choice Book Award, 2015.

Willystine Goodsell Award, Research on Women and Education, 2014-15



Thayer-Bacon, B.  (2017).  Relational ontologies.  New York, NY:  Peter Lang Publishers, Counterpoint Series.

Books Chapters

Thayer-Bacon, B. (in press).  John Dewey and Feminism. Handbook of Dewey’s Theory and Practice in Education.

Thayer-Bacon, B.  (in press).  Amy Gutmann and liberal, deliberative democracy: Implications for schools.  Section One:  Voices from the present and past. International Handbook of Philosophy of Education (Paul Smeyers, Ed.). Chapter 17. New York, NY:  Springer.

Thayer-Bacon, B.  (in press).  Relationality and ethics, In Smith, R. (Ed.).  Wiley Handbook of Educational Ethics.

Thayer-Bacon, B.  (2017).  Healing splits:  Dewey’s theory of knowing.  Chapter 25:  Theories of knowledge.  In English, A. and Waks, L. (Eds.).  Handbook on Democracy and Education, pp. 228-236.  New York: Cambridge University Press.

Thayer-Bacon, B.  (2016).  Herbert Kohl, 36 Children (1967), Chapter 4.  In DeVitis, J. (Ed.),Popular educational classics:  A reader,  pp. 39-48.  New York:  Peter Lang.  American Educational Studies Association Critics’ Choice Book Award, 2016.

Thayer-Bacon, B. (2015).  Education.  In Pihlström, S. (Ed.).  The Bloomsbury campanion to pragmatism.  pp. 188-202.  London:  Bloomsbury.

(Encyclopedia / Dictionary Contributions)

Thayer-Bacon, B.  (in press).  Care theory and peace building. In K. Hytten (Ed.), Oxford Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Education.  New York: Oxford University Press.

Journal Articles

Thayer-Bacon, B. (in press). Redefining work and education in the technological revolution. Studies in Philosophy and Education, Special themed issue.

Thayer-Bacon, B. (Nov, 2018).  What comes after postmodernism? Gone fishing.  Educational Philosophy and TheorySpecial themed anniversary issue, 50(41):1 627-1628.

Thayer-Bacon, B. (2018).  Befriending women in leadership roles? The highest glass ceiling, still unbroken in USA. Res Pública. Revista de historia de las ideas políticas. 21(2): 369-379.

Thayer-Bacon, B.  (2017).  Teaching spirituality as ontology in public schools:  A response to “Democratic foundations of spiritual responsive pedagogy.”  Democracy and Education, 25(1).

Thayer-Bacon, B. (2017).  Exploring William James’s radical empiricism and relational ontologies for alternative possibilities in education.  Special Issue: Ecologizing philosophy of education, Studies in Philosophy and Education, 36(3): 299-314.

Proceedings (full papers)

Thayer-Bacon, B. (accepted). Vulnerable children and moral responsibility:  Loss of humanity, The Philosophy of Education Society Annual Proceedings 2019.

Thayer-Bacon, B.  (in press).  Taking on Woolf’s non-humanist, humanist challenge, The Philosophy of Education Society Annual Proceedings 2017

Recent Research Grants

Longview Foundation, Global Teacher Education Fellows Program, Mentor for Elena Aydarova, 2019-20  Award: $1,000

Barbara Thayer-Bacon

Contact Information

  • 418 Claxton Education Bldg, 1122 Volunteer Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37996
  • Phone: 865-974-9505
  • E-mail: