Bio


Robert D. Crews is an historian whose research and teaching interests focus on Afghanistan, Central and South Asia, Russia, Islam, and Global History. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he received an MA from Columbia University and a PhD degree in History from Princeton University.

He is the author of Afghan Modern: The History of a Global Nation (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2015) and For Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia (Harvard University Press, 2006) and co-editor of Under the Drones: Modern Lives in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Borderlands (Harvard University Press, 2012) and The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan (Harvard University Press, 2008). His work has also appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and The New York Times.

A 2009 Carnegie Scholar, Crews received the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching for First Years of Teaching, 2006-2007, the El Centro Chicano Faculty Appreciation Award in 2011, and the Stanford College Prep Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award, Summer 2012.

His course offerings in 2018-2019 include “The Global Drug Wars,” “Russian Rebels,” "Religion, Violence, and Empire," and an Introductory Seminar, "Terrorism."

Academic Appointments


  • Professor, History

Administrative Appointments


  • Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dept. of History, Stanford University (2010 - 2013)
  • Director, Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, Stanford University (2010 - 2013)
  • Director, Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Stanford University (2013 - 2016)

Honors & Awards


  • Carnegie Scholar, Carnegie Corporation (2009)
  • Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching for First Years of Teaching, Stanford University (2006-2007)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Afghanistan: A Very Short Introduction (book manuscript co-authored with Wazhmah Osman, under contract with Oxford University Press).

Muslims from the Margins: The Politics of Islam in a Global Age (book manuscript – a history of the politics of Muslim minority communities in Mexico, Ghana, India, Russia, and Northern Ireland)

The Afghan Shia: A Revolutionary Minority (book manuscript)

2019-20 Courses


Stanford Advisees


  • Orals Chair
    Samil Can, Nisrin Elamin, Melanie Leon, Cristopher Vazquez Munoz
  • Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
    Anubha Anushree, Mejgan Massoumi
  • Orals Evaluator
    Anubha Anushree, Ignat Ayzenberg, Catherine Baylin Duryea, Melisande Genat
  • Doctoral (Program)
    Anubha Anushree, Mejgan Massoumi, Sabauon Nasseri

All Publications


  • Risking Democracy in Afghanistan: Voting, Violence, and the Struggle for Parliament Journal of International Affairs (online) Crews, R. 2018; October 18, 2018
  • Moscow and the Mosque Co-opting Muslims in Putin's Russia FOREIGN AFFAIRS Crews, R. D. 2014; 93 (2): 125-134
  • Trafficking in Evil? The Global Arms Trade and the Politics of Disorder Conference on Circuits and Networks - Muslim Interactions in the First Age of Globalization Crews, R. UNIV CALIFORNIA PRESS. 2014: 121-?
  • The Russian Worlds of Islam Islam and the European Empires Crews, R. D. edited by Motadel, D. Oxford University Press. 2014
  • Putin's Khanate: How Moscow is Trying to Integrate Crimean Muslims Foreign Affairs Crews, R. D. 2014
  • The Taliban and Nationalist Militancy in Afghanistan Contextualizing Jihadi Thought Crews, R. D. edited by Deol, J., Kazmi, Z. Columbia/Hurst. 2012
  • Muslim Networks, Imperial Power and the Local Politics of Qajar Iran Asiatic Russia: Imperial Power in Regional and International Contexts Crews, R. D. edited by Tomohiko, U. Routledge. 2012
  • Russia Unbound: Historical Frameworks and the Challenge of Globalism Ab Imperio Crews, R. D. 2010; 1: 53-63
  • An Empire for the Faithful, A Colony for the Dispossessed Turkestan russe: une colonie comme les autres? Crews, R. D. edited by Gorshenina, S., Abashin, S. Collection de l’IFEAC. 2009: 79–106
  • Rewriting Europe's Muslim Pasts European Studies Forum Crews, R. D. 2008; 38 (1): 5-11
  • Liberating Afghanistan Middle East Institute Viewpoints Crews, R. D. 2008: 75-78
  • Islamic Law, Imperial Order: Muslims, Jews, and the Russian State Ab Imperio Crews, R. D. 2004; 3: 467-490
  • Empire and the confessional state: Islam and religious politics in nineteenth-century Russia AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW CREWS, R. 2003; 108 (1): 50-83
  • Civilization in the City: Architecture, Urbanism, and the Colonization of Tashkent Architectures of Identity in Russia, 1500-2000 Crews, R. D. edited by Cracraft, J., Rowland, D. Cornell University Press. 2003: 117–132