Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

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
Lecturer in Sociology

A lecturer, Carl Backman teaches – and loves -- the introductory course (SOCY1000 Sociology: Global Perspective). He has been teaching this course for over a quarter of a century and still finds it fascinating and challenging. A transplanted Westerner, he is in his second stint at Auburn. His first, in 1984-5, followed a year of teaching at Georgia Tech and was 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 returned to Alabama to be near his wife's family. After substitute teaching at Opelika High School and teaching at Southern Union, he returned to 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, police chiefs, and mental health practitioners. Dr. Backman's applied interests are reflected in two other courses he routinely teaches, SOCY2000 Social Problems and SOCY2100 Population and Society. When not sociologizing, he can be heard playing the trombone in the East Alabama Community Band.

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 26, 2016