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Robert Crews was named by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as one of the 2009 Carnegie Scholars selected for influential ideas and enhancing public discourse about Islam. He aims to understand how the mobility and interconnectedness of Muslims have intersected with the politics of empires, states, nations, and locales. His research challenges predominant American frameworks for understanding Muslim identities of a unified “Muslim world”, on one hand, and the nation-state on the other hand.

Crews’ research interests include Muslim networks, Empire, Afghanistan, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Iran, and he is the author of several books and articles on these topics, including For Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia (Harvard University Press, 2006) and co-editor, with Amin Tarzi, of The Taliban and the Crisis of Modern Afghanistan (Harvard University Press, 2008). His most recent publication,"Trafficking in Evil? The Global Arms Trade and the Politics if Disorder" is forthcoming in the book Global Islam in the Age of Steam and Print, 1850-1930, to be published by University of California Press.

Crews is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including a Library of Congress Fellowship in International Studies in Spring, 2003; a William H. and Frances Green Faculty Fellowship at Stanford in 2006-2007; the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching for First Years of Teaching at Stanford in 2006-2007; and a Dean’s Fellowship in the Humanities at Stanford in 2007-2008.

Key works

Under the Drones: Modern Lives in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Borderlands, co-edited with Shahzad Bashir. Harvard University Press, 2012

The Taliban and the Crisis of Modern Afghanistan, co-edited with Amin Tarzi. Harvard University Press, 2008

For Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia. Harvard University Press, 2006

Prof. Crews in the News

November 26, 2015
Robert D. Crews, associate professor of history, points out how recent protests in Afghanistan...
April 18, 2014
Since November 2013, the Euromaidan opposition demonstrations in Ukraine and the ensuing conflict...
April 16, 2014
Stanford scientists help create a novel way to do time-lapse studies of crystallization that will lead to more flexible and effective electronic displays, circuits and pharmaceutical drugs.
November 6, 2012
As the ongoing use of unmanned drones in the Middle East prompts protests in Pakistan, Stanford...
September 2, 2009
San Francisco Chronicle, August 2, 2009
September 30, 2008
Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, August 30, 2008
December 14, 2003
LA Times, December 14, 2003
May 15, 2003
LA Times, May 15, 2003
The Stanford Daily, April 20, 2009
Stanford Report, August 31 2011

Audio and Video

Riz Khan Show on Al Jazeera English, September 3, 2009

The World on PRI, February 12, 2009

KQED Forum with Michael Krasny, February 11, 2008

KQED Forum with Michael Krasny, January 30, 2007

Robert Crews, associate professor of History at Stanford, interviews Stéphane Dudoignon, FSI-Stanford Humanties Center International Visitor 2011

February 3, 2011

Scholars from the United States and Ukraine and Moldova's ambassador to the United Nations offer nuanced perspectives on the Ukrainian protests in the spring of 2014, and discuss Ukraine and Russia's interconnected history, the emergence of a new Russian foreign policy, and the legacy of the Euromaidan movement within Ukraine.

May 28, 2014


  • Russia
  • Afghanistan
  • Central Asia
  • The Caucasus
  • The Caspian Sea
  • Islam

Contact information

Bldg 200, Rm 29


History Department Profile


B. A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1992
M.A., Columbia University, 1994
Ph.D., Princeton University, 1999