Photo of Adam Laats

Adam Laats

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education

Office: AB-231
Phone : 607-777-3329
Fax : 607 - 777-3587
E-mail : alaats@binghamton.edu


Educational Background

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

Awards and Honors

  • Spencer Foundation Small Grant, 2014-2015: "Fundamentalist U: Keeping the Faith in American Higher Education"

  • Bruce Mansfield Prize, best article in the Journal of Religious History, From the Religious History Society (Australia), Fall 2013, for journal article, "Our Schools, Our Country: American Evangelicals, Public Schools, and the Supreme Court Decisions of 1962 and 1963".

  • 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 educational activism of conservatives. What has it meant to be "conservative" about education? What have conservative activists and intellectuals wanted out of American schools?  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: http://vimeo.com/31851749

Selected Publications



Photo of Dr. Laats Book on Scopes EraArticles and Book Chapters

  • “Religion,” Miseducation: A History of Ignorance-Making in America and Abroad, ed. A.J. Angulo (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016): 161-183.
  • "Dissenters, Not Ignoramuses: A New Approach to Creationism in America's Public Schools," Anthropology Now, 7:1 (April 2015): 80-88.
  • "The Missionary Supposition: Evolution Education and Creationist Culture," Reports of the National Center for Science Education, 33:6 (November-December 2013): http://reports.ncse.com/index.php/rncse/article/view/201/392.
  • "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): http://www.tcrecord.org 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: Awkward Conversations about School and Society, http://iloveyoubutyouregoingtohell.org; a blog devoted to exploring news and ideas related to history, education, and culture in the United States, 2011-2016.

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

Last Updated: 3/1/16