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Adam Laats

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education
Associate Professor, Department of History (Harpur College)

Office: AB-231
Phone : 607-777-3329
Fax : 607 - 777-3587
E-mail :


Educational Background

  • PhD, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • MAT, History, Washington University in St. Louis
  • BA, English Literature, Northwestern University

Awards and Honors

  • National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, 2009 

  • Blattburg Writing Award, University of Wisconsin Department of History, 2002

  • Hansen Excellence in Teaching Award, Marquette University High School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2001 

Teaching Profession
Courses regularly taught

  • Issues in American History
  • History of American Education
  • Race, Class, and Social Justice
  • History of Conservatism in the United States

Current Research Interests

  • American Educational History
  • Twentieth Century American History
    • Religious History
    • History of Conservatism
  • History Education

I study the history of American education, particularly the history of cultural conflicts over curriculum and educational philosophy. Most of my work has concerned the role of educational activism of conservatives. I am currently working on a book about the development of a network of conservative evangelical colleges during the twentieth century, tentatively titled Fundamentalist U: Keeping the Faith in American Higher Education.

I also study the teaching of history.  I am interested in teacher professional development, connections between university and K-12 history education, and changing ideas about morality in history education.

Sample Presentation

  • "'Surely You're Joking, Mr. Huckabee:' Creationism in Historical Perspective," a talk at the Evolutionary Studies Program, Binghamton University, November 7, 2011. To hear this lecture, see the EVOS post:

Selected Publications


  • The Other School Reformers: Conservative Activism in American Education, coming Fall 2014 from Harvard University Press
  • Fundamentalism and Education in the Scopes Era: God, Darwin, and the Roots of America's Culture Wars, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

                               o For more info, see the webpage:  


Photo of Dr. Laats Book on Scopes Era

Articles and Book Chapters

  • "The Missionary Supposition: Evolution Education and Creationist Culture," Reports of the National Center for Science Education, 33:6 (November-December 2013):
  • "Our Schools, Our Country: American Evangelicals, Public Schools, and the Supreme Court Decisions of 1962 and 1963," Journal of Religious History (Australia),36:3 (September 2012): 1-16.
  • “Red Schoolhouse, Burning Cross: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and Educational Reform,” History of Education Quarterly, 52:3(August 2012).
  • “Monkeys, Bibles, and the Little Red Schoolhouse: Atlanta’s School Battles in the Scopes Era,” Georgia Historical Quarterly,95:3 (Fall 2011): 335-355.
  • “Many Educational Pasts: Conservative Visions and Revisions of the History of American Education,” Teachers College Record, 114; 3 (2012): ID Number: 16300, Date Accessed: 1/26/2011.
  • "Forging a Fundamentalist ‘One Best System:' Struggles over Curriculum and Educational Philosophy for Christian Day Schools, 1970-1989," History of Education Quarterly, 50 (February 2010):55-83.
  • “Inside Out: The Transformation of Conservative Protestant Educational Activism, 1962-1990,” in Inequity in Education: A Historical Perspective , edited by Debra Meyers and Burke Miller, Lexington Books, Rowman and Littlefield Press, 2009, pp 183-209.
  • "The Quiet Crusade: The Moody Bible Institute's Outreach to Public Schools and the Mainstreaming of Appalachia, 1921-1966," Church History 75:3 (September 2006):565-593.

Articles (Non-Peer reviewed/Media):

Digital Publishing:

Founder/Contributing Editor: I Love You but You're Going to Hell: An Outsider's Guide to Conservatism in American Education,; a blog devoted to exploring news and ideas related to conservative education policy in the United States.

Book Reviews

  • Journal of American History
  • History of Education Quarterly
  • Church History
  • American Studies Journal
  • H-Education Book Reviews
  • Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
  • Reports of the National Center for Science Education
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Last Updated: 3/20/14