Crews, Robert D. 1970–

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Crews, Robert D. 1970–


Born March 19, 1970. Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A.; Columbia University, M.A.; Princeton University, Ph.D.


Office— Department of History, Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Bldg. 200, Stanford, CA 94305-2024. E-mail— [email protected]


Stanford University, Stanford, CA, assistant professor of history, 2003—.


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

(Editor, with Amin Tarzi)The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2008.

Contributor of articles to journals.


Robert D. Crews was born March 19, 1970, and grew up to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned his undergraduate degree. Crews continued his education, earning his master's degree at Columbia University and a doctoral degree at Princeton University, before going into education himself as a member of the faculty in the department of history at Stanford University. Crews serves as an assistant professor, with a research interest focused primarily on the Russian Empire, Central Asia, and Islam. He teaches a wide range of courses, including Violence, Islam, and the State in Central Asia, Introduction to the Humanities: Worlds of Islam, Art and Ideas in Nineteenth-Century Russia, and Imperial Russian Historiography. Crews is the author of various journal articles, as well as full-length books, including For Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia and The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan, which he edited with Amin Tarzi.

For Prophet and Tsar examines the relationship between imperial Russia and the surrounding Muslim nations from the rule of Catherine the Great to the Russian Revolution in 1917. As part of his study, he addresses the policy, instituted by Catherine, of dividing the nation into smaller parcels wherein the people were united by their religious beliefs and therefore more easily governed than if the nation had been addressed as one unwieldy, unending sea of people. This system of government, due to the greater control it afforded, eliminated the need for the strong hand that might have been implemented had the people been less organized and more inclined to uprisings. Because Muslim communities were part of this vast realm, the division by faith also prevented the strife that might have come from disagreement over religious ideologies. This theory goes against more commonly held theories that the style of government resulted from an inability to control such a large country, and disinterest in citizens that did not fit the Russian mold. Robert Baumann, writing for the Military Review, commented: "This is a fine work that sheds valuable new light on the processes of empire and the management of cross-cultural governmental relationships. In this sense especially, Crews' research has considerable contemporary relevance." Edward Schatz, in a review for the Middle East Journal, pointed out the book's relevance in the current political climate, calling Crews's effort "a work of historical scholarship" that "speaks directly and effectively to today's burning debates."



Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April, 2007, A.V. Isaenko, review of For Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia, p. 1394.

Economist, July 15, 2006, "Mosque and State: Muslims in Russia," p. 81.

International History Review, June, 2007, Daniel Brower, review of For Prophet and Tsar, p. 363.

Middle East Journal, spring, 2007, Edward Schatz, review of For Prophet and Tsar.

Military Review, November 1, 2006, Robert Baumann, review of For Prophet and Tsar, p. 105.


Harvard University Press, (November 3, 2007), author profile.

Stanford University Web site, (November 3, 2007), faculty profile.