Dominik Mueller headshot

Dominik Müller Visiting Fellow, AY 2018-2019

Dominik M. Müller specializes in the political and legal anthropology of Muslim societies in contemporary Southeast Asia (esp. Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore), bureaucratized Islam in modern nation states, Islamic law and institutions, classificatory power, Muslim popular culture, and the social negotiation of normative change.

Müller is Head of the Research Group “The Bureaucratization of Islam and its Socio-Legal Dimensions in Southeast Asia” at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Department ‘Law and Anthropology’, in Germany (2016-2021). His group is funded by the German Research Foundation’s prestigious Emmy Noether Program. He is also a Fellow at the Centre for Asian Legal Studies (CALS) at the National University of Singapore (2017-2020). He received his PhD from Goethe-University Frankfurt’s Cluster of Excellence ‘Formation of Normative Orders’ in 2012, where he also has been post-doctoral researcher until 2016. He has held a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Post-Doc Fellowship at Stanford University (2013), and served as a visiting scholar at the University of Brunei Darussalam (2014), the University of Oxford (2015), and the National University of Singapore (2016). In Germany, he has taught seminars at the universities of Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Mainz, Halle and Leipzig. Beyond academia, he has conducted research for the Jakarta-based Human Rights Resource Centre (HRRC) in the context of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.

His PhD thesis on the rise of “pop-Islamism” in the Shari’a-discourse and everyday practices of the Islamic Party of Malaysia received the Frobenius Society Research Award as Germany’s best anthropological dissertation of 2012 and was published by Routledge in 2014. Since completing his PhD, he has conducted regular fieldwork on Islamization policies, national ideology (Melayu Islam Beraja) and social change in the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam.

Müller studied Socio-Cultural Anthropology (major), Law and Philosophy in Frankfurt and Leiden (2003-2008). Since then, he has conducted extensive research in Malay-speaking Southeast Asia, beginning with fieldwork for his M.A. thesis in Brunei in 2007.

While at ILSP: Law and Social Change, Müller will be working on the manuscript for his second monograph that explores social dimensions of Islamic governance in Brunei. He will also work on a journal article on the discursive figures of “deviant” (sesat) and “superstitious” (khurafat) practices in the Fatwas of the State Mufti of Brunei vis-à-vis their social and political context. He was in residence at Harvard Law School February 2018–April 2018.

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