Jennifer Burns

Research Fellow

Jennifer Burns is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and an Associate Professor of History at Stanford University. The leading independent expert on Ayn Rand and the American conservative movement, she is author of the acclaimed biography Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right.  Currently, she is writing an intellectual biography of Milton Friedman.  At the Hoover Institution, she directs the annual summer Workshop on Political Economy

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Recent Commentary

In the News

How Real History Shaped ‘The Fountainhead’ — And Kept Ayn Rand’s Fans Coming Back

quoting Jennifer Burnsvia Alternet
Monday, July 15, 2019

Fans of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead consider the novel timeless, with its themes of individual freedom and the heroism of the creator. But the story — about an innovative architect of skyscrapers who grows frustrated by critics skeptical of his vision — is also a direct product of the historical moment leading up to its publication 75 years ago Monday, on May 7, 1943.

Reflections on Ayn Rand 114 Years After Her Birth

by Jennifer Burns
Friday, February 1, 2019

Ayn Rand was one of the first to offer an alternative vision of the knowledge economy where intellect truly drives a creative and free marketplace, a Hoover scholar says.

Jennifer Burns
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A View from the Hoover Archives: Milton Friedman on a Guaranteed Annual Income

by Jennifer Burnsvia Fellow Talks
Thursday, August 23, 2018

Recorded on October 23, 2017

In this talk, Research Fellow Jennifer Burns taps into the Hoover Library & Archives’ extensive Milton Friedman collection. Drawing on her own research in the archives as part of a forthcoming intellectual biography on Friedman, she brings the Nobel Prize-winning Hoover fellow’s work to bear on current policy debates about a universal basic income. 

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Rand Meets Reds

by Jennifer Burnsvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 23, 2017

The Bolshevik Revolution triggered ideological warfare, too, with Ayn Rand among the fiercest warriors. Her foe: American intellectuals. 

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Objectively Speaking, Rand Is History

by Jennifer Burnsvia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 7, 2017

The recent presidential race made it obvious: conservatives have shrugged off Ayn Rand. 

Analysis and Commentary

Ayn Rand’s Counter-Revolution

by Jennifer Burnsvia The New York Times
Monday, April 24, 2017

The crowds jostling below, the soldiers marching down icy boulevards, the roar of a people possessed: All this a young Ayn Rand witnessed from her family’s apartment, perched high above the madness near Nevsky Prospekt, a central thoroughfare of Petrograd, the Russian city formerly known as St. Petersburg.

Analysis and Commentary

Ayn Rand Is Dead. Liberals Are Going To Miss Her

by Jennifer Burnsvia The Washington Post
Friday, March 3, 2017

With Trump comes a truly illiberal conservatism, and that may be worse than old fashioned Objectivism.