David Ilmar Beecher grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, speaking Estonian with his mother and English with his father. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in French and American History and Literature from Harvard University in 2000, where he drew editorial cartoons for the campus newspaper, played the violin in a few different orchestras, and was a member of the intercollegiate JV soccer team. After covering the Baltic States for the travel guide, Let’s Go Eastern Europe 2000, and the ethnically fraught Pyrenees (Basque Country and Catalan Country) for Let’s Go France 2001, he taught English for three years in Le Havre, France, and Potsdam, Germany. His travels improved his command of Estonian, French, German, and Russian, and he became fascinated with the power of languages to create parallel worlds of meaning for their speakers. Four themes guide his historical research and his teaching: language, the university, the city, and the state. He earned his Ph.D in Soviet and European history from UC Berkeley in 2014 with a dissertation entitled, “Ivory Tower of Babel: Tartu University and the Languages of Two Empires, a Nation-State, and the Soviet Union.” At IAS he teaches various courses in history and political economy.