Bio


I am a historian of the twentieth century United States working at the intersection of intellectual, political, and cultural history, with a particular interest in ideas about the state, markets, and capitalism and how these play out in policy and politics.

My first book, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (Oxford, 2009), was an intellectual biography of the libertarian novelist Ayn Rand. For more on this book, watch my interviews with Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, or check out my website (www.jenniferburns.org). I am currently writing a book about the economist Milton Friedman.

At Stanford, I’ve been involved in a number of new initiatives, including serving as a faculty advisor to the Approaches to Capitalism Workshop at the Stanford Humanities Center, co-founding the Bay Area Consortium for the History of Ideas in America (BACHIA), and convening the Hoover Institution Library and Archives Workshop on Political Economy.

I teach courses on modern U.S. history, religious history, and the intellectual history of capitalism.

My writing on the history of conservatism, libertarianism, and liberalism has appeared in a number of academic and popular journals, including Reviews in American History, Modern Intellectual History, Journal of Cultural Economy, The New York Times, The New Republic, and Dissent.

Prospective graduate students: please consult my history department webpage for more information on graduate study. https://history.stanford.edu/people/jennifer-burns

Academic Appointments


  • Associate Professor, History

Administrative Appointments


  • Faculty Senate, Stanford University (2019 - 2021)
  • Honors Director, History Department, Stanford University (2018 - 2020)
  • Assistant Professor of History, Stanford University (2012 - 2016)
  • Assistant Professor of History, University of Virginia (2007 - 2012)
  • Lecturer, Department of History, University of California (2005 - 2007)

Honors & Awards


  • Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University (2016-)
  • Fellowship for University Professors, National Endowment for the Humanities (2017-2018)
  • William C. Bark National Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University (2014-2015)
  • Women's Leadership Fellow, Impact Center, Washington, DC (2013 - 2014)
  • Research Award, University of Virginia Office of the Vice President (2011)
  • Visiting Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat (2011)
  • Distinguished Lecturer, Organization of American Historians (2010 - 2016)
  • Research Associate, Smithsonian Institution (2010 - 2011)
  • Visiting Scholar, Centennial Center, American Political Science Association (2010 - 2011)
  • Top Young Historian, History News Network (2010)
  • Fellow, UVA Professors as Writers (2008 - 2009)
  • Fellow, UVA Excellence in Diversity Fellowship (2008 - 2009)
  • Campbell National Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University (2007 - 2008)
  • Kettner Prize for Best Dissertation, UC Berkeley History Department (2006)
  • Research Fellow, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library (2006)
  • Faculty Advisor, UC Berkeley Library Prize for Undergraduate Research (2003, 2006)
  • Thomas T. Hoopes thesis prize, Harvard University (1998)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Faculty Convener, Hoover Institution Archival Workshop on Political Economy (2013 - Present)
  • Faculty co-organizer (with Caroline Winterer), Bay Area Consortium for the History of Ideas (2012 - Present)
  • Member, U.S. Civil Rights/MLK Institute Director Search Committee (2018 - Present)
  • Faculty co-sponsor (with Richard White and Sylvia Yanagisako), Stanford Humanities Workshop: Approaches to Capitalism (2013 - 2018)
  • Distinguished Lecturer, Organization of American Historians (2010 - 2016)
  • Annual Conference Chair, 2016 United States Intellectual History Conference (USIH) (2015 - 2016)
  • Executive Committee, Society for United States Intellectual History (S-USIH) (2015 - 2016)
  • Chair (elected), Policy Committee, Stanford History Department (2018 - 2019)
  • Member (elected), Policy Committee, Stanford History Department (2013 - 2014)
  • Faculty Consultant, Hoover Institution Library and Archives (2012 - Present)
  • referee, Journal of American History, Modern Intellectual History, History of Intellectual Culture (2010 - Present)
  • Member, Academic Technology Committee, Stanford History Department (2012 - 2013)
  • Member, Annual Prize Committee, Society for United States Intellectual History (2013 - 2013)
  • Alumni representative (elected), Board of Trustees, The Taft School (2011 - 2015)
  • Resident Faculty Fellow, Brown College, UVA (2009 - 2010)

Program Affiliations


  • Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., University of California, History (2005)
  • M.A., University of California, History (2001)
  • A.B., Harvard University, History (1998)

2019-20 Courses


Stanford Advisees


  • Doctoral Dissertation Reader (AC)
    Theresa Iker, Natalie Johnson, Matthew Williams, Vivian Yan
  • Orals Evaluator
    Theresa Iker, Eun Seo Jo, Alexandra Stern
  • Doctoral (Program)
    Austin Steelman, Alastair Su

All Publications


  • Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism (Book Review) AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW Book Review Authored by: Burns, J. 2018; 123 (5): 1615–17

    View details for DOI 10.1093/ahr/rhy207

    View details for Web of Science ID 000456850900021

  • Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America (Book Review) HISTORY OF POLITICAL ECONOMY Book Review Authored by: Burns, J. 2018; 50 (3): 640–48
  • Trump's Favorite Intellectual Burns, J. Die Zeit. 2017
  • Ayn Rand's Counter-Revolution Burns, J. The New York Times. 2017
  • The Three "Furies" of Libertarianism: Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Ayn Rand JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY Burns, J. 2015; 102 (3): 746-774
  • ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE: FREE MARKETS FROM RIGHT TO LEFT MODERN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY Burns, J. 2014; 11 (1): 253-265
  • Milton Friedman: The Economist as Historian Joint Center for History and Economics Burns, J. 2013
  • In the Ayn Rand Archive RARITAN-A QUARTERLY REVIEW Burns, J. 2012; 32 (2): 53-74
  • Ron Paul and the New Libertarianism DISSENT Burns, J. 2012; 59 (3): 46-50
  • Science-Mart: Privatizing American Science (Book Review) AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW Book Review Authored by: Burns, J. 2012; 117 (3): 902-903
  • Paul Ryan is far from an Ayn Rand Protegee US News and World Report Fox, L. 2012
  • Ayn Rand's Long Journey to the Heart of American Politics The New Republic Online Burns, J. 2012
  • Five Minute Tute: Professor Jennifer Burns on Ayn Rand, Philosopher and Novelist Oxford University Cherwell Burns, J. 2012; 10
  • Will This Election Settle Republicans' Ayn Rand Debate? Echoes: Dispatches from Economic History Burns, J. 2012
  • Ayn Rand, maitresse a penser du candidat republicain a Ia vice-presidence americaine, Mediapart, Mediapart.fr Cantaloube, T. 2012
  • Too Many Young Men Who Smoke Pipes: Time, Inc. and the Interstitial Intellectual American History Burns, J. 2012; 40 (1): 101 - 105
  • Ayn Rand Encyclopedia of Modern Political Thought Burns, J. CQ Press. 2012
  • The Measure of All Things: How Markets Beat out Citizenship to Define Our Public Life The American Prospect Burns, J. 2012: 79 - 80
  • Atlas Spurned The New York Times Burns, J. 2012
  • Sex and the Conservatives' Matriarch The Boston Globe Weiss, J. 2012
  • The Rise and Fall of Modern American Conservatism: A Short History (Book Review) JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY Book Review Authored by: Burns, J. 2011; 97 (4): 1093-1095
  • The Root of All Good: Ayn Rand's Meaning of Money Journal of Cultural Economy Burns, J. 2011; 4 (3): 329 - 347
  • How Randian was Ayn Rand? The Washington Post Burns, J. 2011
  • Isabel Paterson American National Biography Burns, J. Oxford University Press. 2011
  • Rose Wilder Lane American National Biography Burns, J. Oxford University Press. 2011
  • IN SEARCH OF A USABLE PAST: CONSERVATIVE THOUGHT IN AMERICA MODERN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY Burns, J. 2010; 7 (2): 479-494
  • From Hollywood to the Federal Reserve: The Making of Ayn Rand's Objectivism The Age of Conservatism: From Opposition to Power in France, Britain, and the United States Burns, J. 2010
  • The Right Since Obama: The Rise of Market Fundamentalism Dissent Magazine Burns, J. 2010
  • Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s (Book Review) SOCIAL HISTORY Book Review Authored by: Burns, J. 2010; 35 (2): 235-237
  • Book Notes: Phillip Lopate's Notes on Sontag Virginia Quarterly Review Burns, J. 2009
  • How Free Should the Market Be: Was Ayn Rand a Prophet or a Scapegoat Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star Burns, J. 2009
  • Vita: Ayn Rand: A Brief Life of an Iconoclastic Individualist Harvard Magazine Burns, J. 2009
  • Ayn Rand and America's New Culture War The Christian Science Monitor Burns, J. 2009
  • The Root of All Good: Ayn Rand and the Meaning of Money Beyond Liquidity: After the Crash Interdisciplinary Conference Burns, J. 2009
  • Howard Roark in New Delhi: The Surprising Popularity of a Libertarian Hero in India Foreign Policy Burns, J. 2009
  • Russia and the American Right Russia and the USSR in American Intellectual History Burns, J. 2008
  • 0 Libertarian, Where is Thy Sting? Journal of Policy History Burns, J. 2007; 19 (4): 452 - 471
  • In Retrospect: George Nash's The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 Reviews in American History Burns, J. 2004; 32 (3): 447 - 462
  • Godless Capitalism: Ayn Rand and the Conservative Movement Modern Intellectual History Burns, J. 2004; 1 (3): 359 - 385
  • Skyscraper on a Hill: Ayn Rand and the Cultural Politics of American Capitalism Capitalism and Its Culture: Rethinking Mid-Twentieth Century American Social Thought Burns, J. 2003
  • Leatherstocking Tales Dictionary of American History Burns, J. Charles Scribner's Sons. 2002
  • Leaves of Grass Dictionary of American History Burns, J. Charles Scribner's Sons. 2002
  • Mysticism Dictionary of American History Burns, J. Charles Scribner's Sons. 2002
  • Modernism, Religious Dictionary of American History Burns, J. Charles Scribner's Sons. 2002
  • Forever: De Beers and U.S. Antitrust Law Harvard Business School Case 700-082 Burns, J., Spar, D. L. Harvard Business School Press. 2000: 1–25
  • Hitting the Wall: Nike and International Labor Practices Harvard Business School Case 700-047 Burns, J., Spar, D. L. Harvard Business School Press. 2000: 1–23
  • Network Associates: Securing the Internet Harvard Business School Case 799-087 Burns, J., Spar, D. L. Harvard Business School Press. 1999: 1–20
  • Agricultural Biotechnology Brief, 1999 Harvard Business School Case 700-066 Reinhardt, F., Burns, J. Harvard Business School Press. 1999
  • Environmental Risk Management at Chevron Corp Harvard Business School Case 799-062 Reinhardt, F., Mandelli, M. M., Burns, J. Harvard Business School Press. 1999: 1–28