Adam Laats is an historian interested in culture and education in the United States. He taught middle- and high school for ten years in sunny Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He now teaches at Binghamton University (State University of New York). He was trained as a historian at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he studied with educational historian William J. Reese and historian of science and medicine Ronald L. Numbers.
He has published widely about the history of America’s schools and culture. His first book, Fundamentalism and Education in the Scopes Era: God, Darwin, and the Roots of America’s Culture Wars (Palgrave Macmillan 2010) examined battles over religion and schooling in the 1920s. His next book, The Other School Reformers: Conservative Activism in American Education came out in February 2015 with Harvard University Press. His following book, co-authored with philosopher Harvey Siegel and titled Teaching Evolution in a Creation Nation, hit the shelves in March, 2016. His latest book, from Oxford University Press, examines the twentieth-century history of conservative evangelical colleges and universities. He is also working on a book about American creationism. How is it possible, Laats wonders, in this twenty-first century for people to believe that our species is only six thousand years old? How is it possible for educated, aware, engaged Americans to utterly reject a basic fact of science?
Laats has published articles in such scholarly journals as Church History, History of Education Quarterly, and Teachers College Record. He has contributed essays to the Chronicle of Higher Education, to Education Week, to Time and Newsweek, to the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog and to the History News Network.
When it comes to his personal politics, Laats generally sticks to his progressive roots. He was not raised in any sort of evangelical, conservative, or fundamentalist church. But he tries hard to understand the world of those who are different from him, and their reasons for wanting schools the way they do.