Robert Crews

Associate Professor; Director of the Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies; Director of the Mediterranean Studies Forum

At Stanford Since

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

Research Interests

Afghanistan, Central and South Asia, Russia, Islam, Global History

Current Research

A Global History of Afghanistan
Afghan Shia Politics

Courses Taught

  • The Islamic Republics:  Politics and Society in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan
  • The Global Drug Wars
  • The Caucasus and the Muslim World
  • Violence, Islam, and the State in Central Asia
  • Modern Islamic Movements
  • The Russian Empire

Selected Publications


Book Cover For Prophet and TsarFor Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia (Harvard University Press, 2006)




Book cover The Taliban and the Crisis of AfghanistanThe Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan, co-edited with Amin Tarzi (Harvard University Press, 2008)




Book Cover: Under the Drones: Modern Lives in the Afghanistan-Pakistan BorderlandsUnder the Drones: Modern Lives in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Borderlands, co-edited with Shahzad Bashir (Harvard University Press, 2012)




Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Putin’s Khanate:  How Moscow is Trying to Integrate Crimean Muslims,” Foreign Affairs (online), April 7, 2014. 
  • “Moscow and the Mosque:  Co-opting Muslims in Putin’s Russia,” Foreign Affairs (March/April 2014):  125-134.
  • “The Russian Worlds of Islam,” Islam and the European Empires, ed., David Motadel (Oxford University Press, 2014).
  • “Trafficking in Evil? The Global Arms Trade and the Politics of Disorder,” Global Islam in the Age of Steam and Print, 1850-1930, eds., James Gelvin and Nile Green (University of California Press, 2014).
  • “The Taliban and Nationalist Militancy in Afghanistan,” Contextualizing Jihadi Thought, eds., Jeevan Deol and Zaheer Kazmi (London:  Hurst and Co./NY:  Columbia University Press,  2012).
  • “Muslim Networks, Imperial Power, and the Local Politics of Qajar Iran,” in Asiatic Russia: Imperial Power in Regional and International Contexts, ed., Uyama Tomohiko (NY:  Routledge, 2012).
  • “Russian Conquest and Administration in Inner Asia (1865-1884),” Cambridge History of Inner Asia: The Modern Period, eds., Edmund Herzig and Annette Bohr (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). 
  •  “Russia Unbound:  Historical Frameworks and the Challenge of Globalism,” Ab Imperio no. 1 (2010):  53-63.
  • “Liberating Afghanistan,” Middle East Institute Viewpoints (December 2009), 75-78.
  • “An Empire for the Faithful, A Colony for the Dispossessed,” Turkestan russe: une colonie comme les autres? eds., Svetlana Gorshenina and Sergei Abashin (Paris: Collection de l’IFEAC, 2009), 79-106.
  • “Rewriting Europe’s Muslim Pasts,” European Studies Forum vol. 38, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 5-11.
  • “Moderate Taliban?” The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan, 238-273.
  • “Epilogue:  Afghanistan and the Pax Americana,” with Atiq Sarwari, The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan, 311-355.
  • “Islamic Law, Imperial Order: Muslims, Jews, and the Russian State,” Ab Imperio no. 3 (2004): 467-490.
  • “Empire and the Confessional State: Islam and Religious Politics in Nineteenth-Century Russia,” American Historical Review vol. 108, no. 1 (February 2003): 50-83.
  • “Civilization in the City: Architecture, Urbanism, and the Colonization of Tashkent,” Architectures of Identity in Russia, 1500-2000, eds., James Cracraft and Daniel Rowland (Ithaca, NY:  Cornell University Press, 2003), 117-132.

Selected Awards and Fellowships

  • 2009 Carnegie Scholar
  • Dean’s Fellow in the Humanities, Stanford University, 2007-2008
  • Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching for First Years of Teaching, Stanford University, 2006-2007
  • William H. and Frances Green Faculty Fellow, Stanford University, 2006-2007
  • International Research and Exchanges Board Short-Term Research Grant (Azerbaijan and Georgia), Summer 2006
  • Library of Congress Fellowship in International Studies, Spring 2003
  • Kennan Institute Research Scholar, Fall 2002
  • Arbeitskreis Moderne und Islam/Working Group Modernity and Islam Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin/Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin, 1999-2000
  • Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Honorific Fellowship in the Humanities, Princeton University, 1998-1999
  • Princeton Society of Fellows of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellowship, 1998-1999
  • Fulbright-Hays Fellowship for Doctoral Dissertation Research in Russia and Uzbekistan, 1996-1997