Carl Backman

Carl Backman


  • Ph.D., sociology, Cornell University
  • M.A., sociology, Cornell University
  • B.A., sociology, Yale University

Office Hours

    By appointment

About Carl Backman
Instructor of Sociology

Carl Backman is an Instructor. Most of his effort these days is focused on the introductory course (SOCY1000 Sociology: Global Perspective), a course he has been teaching for a quarter of a century and which he still finds fascinating and challenging. A transplanted Westerner, he is in his second stint at Auburn. His first stint was in 1984-5, following a year of teaching at Georgia Tech and followed by 15 years in the Department of Sociology at Buffalo State College in New York. Taking the advice he so often gives students to get some international experience, he retired from Buffalo State to teach English for a year at Shantou University in southeastern China. He next returned to Alabama to be near his wife's family (mother-in-law Ruth "Chip" Busch was an anthropologist in this very department). After substitute teaching at Opelika High School and teaching at Southern Union, he began teaching again at Auburn in 2003.

Dr. Backman has a strong interest in Applied Sociology. For four years in the late Carter and early Reagan administrations he worked in the Statistics and Survey Analysis section of the United States Senate Computer Center. His group consulted with member offices, subcommittees, full committees, and a joint committee on a wide range of issues, including day care (hot new stuff in the late 1970s!), Carter's Panama Canal treaty, ownership and control of major US corporations, city finances, and the deregulation of the trucking industry, among others. His applied work has led to a great deal of interdisciplinary collaboration, including work with economists, psychologists, criminologists, lawyers, and police chiefs. Dr. Backman's applied interests are reflected in two other courses he routinely teaches, SOCY2000 Social Problems and SOCY2100 Population and Society.

Representative Publications

Backman has published in Sociological Spectrum, Teaching Sociology, The American Sociologist, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and The American Economic Review. He also contributed to several Senate publications.

Last Updated: July 05, 2016