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Barbara Thayer-Bacon

Barbara Thayer-Bacon, PhD

Professor, Cultural Studies


Barbara J. Thayer-Bacon, Ph.D. (Indiana University, Bloomington, IN) 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).


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


Curriculum Vitae

Awards and Recognitions

Willystine Goodsell Award, Research on Women and Education, 2014-15. Lecture will be given at AERA, 2015.

Visiting Scholar, University of Luxembourg, Feb-March, 2014

Keynote Speaker, Pedagogy of Hope Conference, Liverpool Hope University, UK, June, 2015


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

Thayer-Bacon, B. (2014). The importance of cultural studies for education: For teachers and policymakers in America. In Mueller, M., Tippins, D. and Stewart, A.J. (Eds.). Assessing schools for generation r (responsibility), pp. 267-277. New York, NY: Springer.

Thayer-Bacon, B. (2014) Montessori education. In D. C. Phillips (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy, SAGE Publications.

Book 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.

Journal Articles

Thayer-Bacon, B.. (in process of translation).  Befriending women in leadership roles? The highest glass ceiling, still unbroken in USA. Spanish journal.

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.


Barbara Thayer-Bacon

Contact Information

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