Prof. Dr. Dominik Müller

Chair of Cultural and Social Anthropology

(Lehrstuhl für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie, Schwerpunkt: LawTech in globalen Rechtskulturen)

Welcome to the Chair of Cultural and Social Anthropology at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, held by Prof. Dominik M. Müller. The Chair of Cultural and Social Anthropology belongs to FAU’s Institute of Sociology at the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Theology and has a secondary affiliation with FAU’s Law School. Its formation was enabled by the DFG Heisenberg program and the Hightech Agenda Bavaria (HTA).

Dominik Müller is representing Anthropology’s expanding profile at FAU also at the International Max Planck Research Research School “Global Multiplicity: A Social Anthropology for the Now” (IMPRS-GM), of which he is a founding Programme Committee member since 2023, as one of the directors of the DFG Center for Advanced Studies – Erlangen (CAS-E) “Alternative Rationalities and Esoteric Practices from a Global Perspective”, established in 2022, and at the interdisciplinary Bavarian  “Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures (SDAC)”, in which anthropology is the guiding discipline. At CAS-E, he is regularly hosting post-doc and senior-level anthropologists for research fellowships at FAU.

Notably, there are several anthropologists working at other FAU institutions also beyond the Institute of Sociology and the Chair’s listed projects. The Chair aims at making this “rhizomatic” structure of Anthropology at FAU more visible.


Biographical Note

Dominik Müller is an anthropologist with broad research interests in legal and political anthropology as well as the anthropology of Islam. His fieldwork has mainly taken place in Southeast Asia (Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore). Presently he is broadening his scope towards a Global Anthropology related to law and technology.

He initially worked at FAU as a fixed-term Professor (W2) heading the SDAC program starting in 2019, before his Chair (W3) was established in 2022. He headed the DFG Emmy Noether Group “The Bureaucratization of Islam and its Socio-Legal Dimensions in Southeast Asia” (2016-2023), initially at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology’s Department “Law & Anthropology”, later transferred to FAU. Until 2016, his primary affiliation was with the Cluster of Excellence “Normative Orders” in Frankfurt, where he was a PhD student (2008–2012) and post-doc (2012-2016). He has been a fellow at Harvard Law School in 2018 and in 2019 and held other visiting positions and at the National University of Singapore, the University of Brunei Darussalam, Stanford University and Oxford University. He studied cultural anthropology, philosophy and public and international law at Goethe-University Frankfurt (2003-2008) and at Leiden University (2006-2007).


Teaching and Supervision

The Chair is offering introductory and upper-level courses in socio-cultural anthropology and especially legal anthropology, the anthropology of human rights, ethnographic methods, as well as Southeast Asia- and Islam-related subjects. We are interested in supervising students at the B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. levels researching topics related to law and technology from anthropological perspectives in any part of the world, using ethnographic methods. Students who wish to write a thesis in this framework can participate in our LawTech Ethnographies group’s activities (see below).


Research Group “LawTech Ethnographies”

Established in 2022, the “LawTech Ethnographies” (LTE) initiative is developing a long-term research agenda exploring changing legal technologies and related transformations of legal practices – an anthropological “praxeology” of law and technology, with studies from and across various world regions, in an explorative bottom-up manner. By now, first student projects have been, or are presently, conducted with fieldwork in Malaysia, China, Dubai, Canada, and the United States. Members develop their projects collaboratively and participate in various forms of group work.

At the Ph.D. students’ level, the LTE Group is part of the IMPRS-GM and its thematic group “Legal Complexity and Justice”. It is also possible for B.A. and M.A. students to participate in the group’s activities at FAU and write their thesis in this framework, usually based on an empirical fieldwork project. Such projects are usually conducted by students enrolled in the SDAC M.A. or Sociology B.A./M.A. who wish to specialize in Anthropology under Prof. Müller’s supervision. Interested students should contact Dominik Müller or any member of his Chair team.

Chair Team

Faculty (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeitende) and Student Assistant

Curriculum Vitae


2022 Chair (W3 Professor) for Cultural and Social Anthropology, Institute of Sociology, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg
2019 –2022 W2-Professor for Cultural and Social Anthropology, Elite M.A. Program “Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures (SDAC)”, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg
2016 – 2019 Head of Emmy Noether Research Group “The Bureaucratization of Islam and its Socio-Legal Dimensions in Southeast Asia”, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Department “Law & Anthropology”
2019 Visiting Fellow, Harvard Law School, Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World (PLS), Spring Term
2018 Stipendiary Visiting Fellow, Harvard University, Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change (ILSP: LSC), Spring Term
2017 – 2020 (Non-Resident) Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Asian Legal Studies (CALS), National University of Singapore (NUS), affiliation for DFG Emmy Noether Project cooperation
2016 Stipendiary Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Asian Legal Studies (CALS), National University of Singapore (NUS) (August -September)
2012 – 2016 Post-Doctoral Fellow in Anthropology, Cluster of Excellence “Formation of Normative Orders”, Goethe-University Frankfurt
2015 Visiting Senior Member, University of Oxford, St Antony’s College, Asian Studies Centre
2014 Visiting Fellow, University of Brunei Darussalam, Academy of Brunei Studies
2013 DAAD Post-Doc Fellow, Stanford University, Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC)
2009 – 2012 PhD Scholarship, Cluster of Excellence “Formation of Normative Orders”, Goethe-University Frankfurt
2008 Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Institut für Ethnologie, Goethe-University Frankfurt


2008 – 2012 PhD in Anthropology (summa cum laude), Goethe-University Frankfurt
2003 – 2008 Magister Artium (mit Auszeichnung) in Anthropology (major), Philosophy (minor) and Public Law (minor), Goethe-University Frankfurt
2006 – 2007 ERASMUS at Leiden University (Netherlands), Southeast Asian Studies & Anthropology

Grants, Awards and Scholarships

2022–2027 Elite Network Bavaria, successful extension application for grant-funded Elite M.A. Program “Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures (SDAC)”
2022 DFG Kollegforschungsgruppe
2022 DFG Heisenberg Programm
2018 – 2020 Daimler und Benz Stiftung, Post-Doctoral Scholarship (grant)
2018 John A. Lent Prize, Association for Asian Studies (AAS)
2016 – 2022 DFG Emmy Noether Research Group (grant)
2016 – 2020 Junge Akademie | Mainz, Akademie der Wissenschaft und der Literatur | Mainz
2018 Stipendiary Fellowship, Harvard Law School, Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law ans Social Change
2016 Stipendiary Fellowship, Centre for Asian Legal Studies, National University of Singapore
2015 Commendation, Young Scholars Prize Competition 2014, Peer-Reviewed Journal Indonesia and the Malay World, ed. SOAS London
2013 DAAD Post-Doc Program Fellowship, Stanford University
2012 “Nachwuchswissenschaftler/innen im Fokus“, awarded by President’s Office, Goethe-University Frankfurt
2012 Dissertation Prize (Forschungsförderungspreis), Frobenius-Gesellschaft und und Hahn- Hissink’schen Frobenius-Stiftung
2009 – 2012 PhD Scholarship, Cluster of Excellence “Formation of Normative Orders”, Frankfurt
2007 DAAD Scholarship, Short-Term Fieldwork in Brunei for MA Thesis
2007 ERASMUS Scholarship, Intensive Program Southeast Asian Studies, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO), Paris
2006 – 2007 ERASMUS Scholarship, Leiden University



  • Müller, D. (2014). Islam, Politics and Youth in Malaysia: The Pop-Islamist Reinvention of PAS. Abingdon: Routledge (Taylor & Francis)


  • Alidadi, K., Foblets, M. C., & Müller, D. (2022). Redesigning Justice for Plural Societies. London: Routledge. ISBN: 9781003224174.
  • Müller, D. (2020). Islam, law, and the state. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780191876226.
  • Müller, D. (2014). Islam, politics and youth in Malaysia: the pop-Islamist reinvention of PAS (Contemporary Southeast Asia Series). Abingdon: Routledge (Taylor & Francis).

Journal Articles (Peer-Reviewed)

  • Müller, D. (2022). Beyond the Sharia State: Public Celebrations and Everyday State-Making in the Malay Islamic Monarchy of Brunei Darussalam. Asian Journal of Law and Society, 1-22.
  • Müller, D. (2021). Besprechung: Ulrich Pfister (u.a.) Kulturen des Entscheidens. Narrative – Praktiken – Ressourcen. Archiv für Kulturgeschichte, 103(2), 491-493.
  • Müller, D. (2020). Rezension: “Schuckmann, Alewtina: Jugend und Gender in Marokko. Eine Ethnographie des urbanen Raums. Bielefeld: transcript, 2019.” Anthropos, 115, 636-637.
  • Müller, D. (2020). Brunei’s Sharia Penal Code Order: Punitive Turn or the Art of Non-Punishment? Journal of Islamic Law, 1.
  • Mueller, D. M. (2018). Hybrid Pathways to Orthodoxy in Brunei Darussalam: Bureaucratised Exorcism, Scientisation and the Mainstreaming of Deviant-Declared Practices. Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 37 (1), 141-183.
  • Mueller, D. M. (2017). Taming the Wild: Aborigines and Racial Knowledge in Colonial Malaya. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 18, 93-95.
  • Mueller, D. M. (2017). From Consultancy to Critique: The ‘Success Story’ of Globalized Zakat Management in Malaysia and its Normative Ambiguities. Globalizations, 14, 81-98.
  • Mueller, D. M. (2016). Brunei in 2015: Oil revenues down, Sharia on the rise. Asian Survey, 56(1), 162-167.
  • Mueller, D. M. (2016). Paradoxical normativities in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia: Islamic law and the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. Asian Survey, 56(3), 415-441.
  • Mueller, D. M. (2015). ISLAMIC POLITICS AND POPULAR CULTURE IN MALAYSIA: Negotiating normative change between shariah law and electric guitars: COMMENDATION 2014 YOUNG SCHOLARS COMPETITION. Indonesia and the Malay World, 43, 318-344.
  • Müller, D. (2013). Post-Islamism or Pop-Islamism?: Ethnographic Observations of Muslim Youth Politics in Malaysia. Paideuma: Mitteilungen zur Kulturkunde, 59, 261-284.
  • Mueller, D. M. (2010). An internationalist national Islamic struggle? Narratives of ‘brothers abroad’ in the discursive practices of the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS). South East Asia Research, 18, 757-791.
  • Müller, D. (2010). Reviewed Work: Piety and Politics: Islamism in Contemporary Malaysia by Joseph Chinyong Liow. South East Asia Research, 18, 616-620.

Other Journal Articles 

  • Müller, D. (2018). Social categorization and religiously framed state-making in Brunei: from criminalizing supernatural healers to the rise of bureaucratized exorcism. Berita 2018(Summer): 9–21.
  • Müller, D. (2018). Islamic authority and the state in Brunei Darussalam. Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia 23.

(Japanese Translation) ブルネイ・ダルサラームにおけるイスラム教の権威と国家. Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, Issue 23.

(Malay Translation) Wewenang Islam dan Negara di Brunei Darussalam, Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, Issue 23.

(Thai Translation) อำนาจอิสลามกับรัฐในประเทศบรูไนดารุสซาลาม. Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia (special issue: Islamism in Southeast Asia, ed. Joseph C. Liow), Issue 23.

(Vietnamese Translation) Quyền uy Hồi giáo và Nhà nước ở Brunei Darussalam. Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, Issue 23.

  • Müller, D. (2015). Transit ins Paradies: IS-Rekruten und das Problem ideologischer Terrorismusbekämpfung in Malaysia. Frankfurter Forschungszentrum Globaler Islam.
  • Müller, D. (2009). ‘Save Gaza!‘: Reaktionen auf den Gaza-Konflikt im Diskurs der Islamischen Partei von Malaysia (PAS). Südostasien 4: 38–42.

Edited Volume and Guest-Edited Special Issue

  • 2022 “Redesigning Justice for Plural Societies: Case Studies of Minority Accommodation from around the Globe”, London: Routledge. Co-edited with Marie-Claire Foblets and Katayoun Alidadi
  • 2018 “The Bureaucratization of Islam in Southeast Asia: Transdisciplinary Perspectives. Journal for Current Southeast Asian Affairs”, 38(1). Co-edited with Kerstin Steiner.

Book Chapters

  • 2022 “The Shaping of Islam in Brunei Darussalam,” in Aljunied, K. ed., Routledge Handbook of Islam in Southeast Asia, Abingdon: Routledge. 326-40.
  • 2021 “Islam, Law, and the State”. In Foblets, M.-C., Zenker, O., Goodale, M. & Sapignoli, M. eds., The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Anthropology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 2021 “Hybrid Pathways to Orthodoxy: Bureaucratisation, Sharia-Compliant Exorcism and the Powers of Japanese Water-Crystal Photography in Brunei Darussalam”, in Victor King & S. Druce (eds.), Continuity and Change in Brunei Darussalam. Abingdon: Routledge. 46–66.
  • 2021 “Hybride Wege zur Orthodoxie: Bürokratisierter Exorzismus, Scientization und die Neuerfindung deviant-erklärter übernatürlicher Praktiken in Brunei Darussalam”, In S. Nagel & 2021  R. Schirner (ed.): Sprache | Macht | Magie. Mainz: Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz. 167-204.
  • 2019 “Pluralism in Brunei’s Constitution? Ethnicity, Religion and the Absolute Monarchy”, in Neo, Jaclyn and Son, Bui Ngoc eds., Pluralist Constitutions in Southeast Asia, Oxford: Hart. 83–113 (co-authored with Kerstin Steiner)
  • 2018 “State-Islam Relations in Southeast Asia: A Comparative Perspective”, in: H.C. Günther ed.: Ethics, Politics and Law: East and West. Nordhausen: Traugott Bautz. S. 159–174
  • 2017 (repr. 2019) Ummah Revisited: Anti-Shia Hatred in Malaysia since the Outbreak of the Syrian Civil War”, in Lemiere, Sophie (Hg.) Illusions of Democracy: Malaysian Politics and People (Volume II), Kuala Lumpur: Gerakbudaya. 113–135. (reprint: Amsterdam University Press, 2019)
  • 2017 “Die Staatliche Verfolgung von ‘Magiern’ in Brunei Darussalam und Saudi Arabien”, in Schröter, Susanne ed., Normenkonflikte in Pluralistischen Gesellschaften, Frankfurt: Campus Verlag. 291–324. (co-authored with O. Beranek)
  • 2015 (repr. 2019) “When ‘PAS is HAMAS’ and ‘UMNO acts like Israel’: Localized appropriations of the Palestine conflict in Malaysia”, in Petru, Tomas ed., Islam, Society and Politics in Southeast Asia, Wien: Caesarpress, 77–106. (reprint 2019: Czech Academy of Sciences Press)
  • 2015 “Brunei Darussalam”, in Neo, Jaclyn ed., Keeping the Faith: A Study of Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion in ASEAN, Jakarta: Human Rights Resource Centre (HRRC), 53–98.
  • 2010 “Melayu Islam Beraja: Islam, Staat und politische Kommunikation in Brunei Darussalam”, in Schulze, Fritz und Warnk, Holger ed., Islam und Staat in den Ländern Südostasiens, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 147–170.

Working Paper

  • 2018 “The Bureaucratization of Islam in Southeast Asia: Conceptual Contours of a Research Project”, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Working Paper, no. 187.

Enyclopedia Entries

  • 2020 “Malaysia“. Encyclopedia of Islam (EI), Third Edition (ed. Gudrun Krämer et al.). Leiden: Brill. 125-35. (with T.G. Biro)
  • 2020 “Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS)“. Encyclopedia of Islam (EI), Third Edition (ed. Gudrun Krämer et al.). Leiden: Brill. 113-15.

Book Reviews

  • 2022 Michael Peletz (2022/23, in print): “Sharia Transformations: Cultural Politics and the Rebranding of an Islamic Judiciary”, Berkeley, CA: UC Press”.Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 53.
  • 2021 Ulrich Pfister u.a. (2018): “Kulturen des Entscheidens: Narrative, Praktiken, Ressourcen’, Honolulu: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht ”. Archiv für Kulturgeschichte, 103 (2): 491–93.
  • 2020 Alewtina Schuckmann (2018): ‘Jugend und Gender in Marokko: Eine Ethnographie des urbanen Raums’, Bielefeld: transcript”. Anthropos, 45 (2): 636–37.
  • 2017 “Sandra Khor Manickam (2015): ‘Taming the Wild: Aborigines and Racial Knowledge in Colonial Malaya’, Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press”. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 18 (1): 93–95.
  • 2010 Joseph C. Liow (2009): ‘Piety and Politics: Islamism in Contemporary Malaysia’, New York: Oxford University Press”. South East Asia Research, 18(3): 616–620

Video Publication 

How Has the Islamic Party of Malaysia’s Stance Towards Popular Culture Evolved?