Head of Research Group

Dominik Müller
Dominik Müller
Telefon: +49 (0) 345 29 27 333


Fauwaz Abdul Aziz
Fauwaz Abdul Aziz
Telefon: +49 (0) 345 29 27 519
Timea Greta Biro
Timea Greta Biro
Telefon: +49 (0) 345 29 27 519
Rosalia Engchuan
Rosalia Engchuan
Telefon: +49 (0) 345 29 27 519
Annika Benz
Student Team Member



DFG Emmy Noether Project
“The Bureaucratization of Islam and its Socio-Legal Dimensions in Southeast Asia”
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Advokatenweg 36, D-06114 Halle, Germany


June 2017
Rosalia Engchuan has been selected to join a masterclass organized by EuroSEAS and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) in Oxford in August 2017

1 April 2017
The Emmy Noether Project welcomes Fauwaz Abdul Aziz, Rosalia Engchuan and Tímea Gréta Biró as PhD candidates

March 2017 (for Feb. 2018)
Dominik Müller will be a Visiting Fellow in Law and Social Change at Harvard University in 2018


13 October 2017
Guest Lecture: "Colonial Conflations: translation, comparison, and the making of Islamic law", Iza Hussin (Cambridge University), 14-16h

7-8 September 2017
International Workshop: "The Bureaucratization of Islam and its Socio-Legal Dimensions in Southeast Asia: Anthropological and Transdisciplinary Perspectives", MPI for Social Anthropology

Emmy Noether Group - The Bureaucratization of Islam and its Socio-Legal Dimensions in Southeast Asia

Emmy Noether Group – The Bureaucratization of Islam and its Socio-Legal Dimensions in Southeast Asia

Following the popular waves of Islamic resurgence, state-sponsored Islamic bureaucracies have become influential societal actors in Southeast Asia, particularly in countries where Muslim populations play a significant political role. The governments of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore have in diverse ways empowered ‘administrative’ bodies to guide Islamic discourse. Although their approaches, motivations and spheres of influence differ widely, they share the intention to formalize categorical schemes of Islam and create rules for engaging in public communication about it.

The Junior Research Group investigates the bureaucratization of Islam and its socio-legal dimensions from an anthropological perspective, with a particular focus on the state's exercise of ‘classificatory power’ and its actual workings on the micro-level. The project argues that the bureaucratization of Islam far transcends the boundaries of its institutions. Focusing on diverse empirical contexts, the group will scrutinize how the imposition of formalized schemes of Islam – a transformation of Islam into the codes and procedures of bureaucracy – has socio-legal consequences that penetrate deeply into public discourse and the everyday lives of various affected social actors. The project also asks how the bureaucracies’ classificatory practices and micro-politics of power resonate with social realities among the wider population and how social actors actively react to them, always with the intention of going beyond unidirectional ‘cause–effect models’ that overstate the power of official policies. Conceptually, the project treats the bureaucratization of Islam not just descriptively as an empirical fact, but as a larger analytic phenomenon to be theorized in comparative perspective. Grounded in long-term fieldwork, focusing on actors' perspectives and positioned in anthropological debates, the project intends to generate a new, ethnographically grounded understanding of contemporary Islamic discourse in the context of state power in Southeast Asia, with implications beyond the region.

The Emmy Noether Program (DFG)

The Emmy Noether Program aims at providing early career researchers with the opportunity to rapidly qualify for a leading position in science and research or for a university teaching career by leading an independent junior research group and assuming relevant teaching duties.

The Emmy Noether Program is open to researchers from all academic disciplines. The German Research Foundation (DFG) stresses that an excellent scientific track record and outstanding publications in high ranking international specialist journals are key qualifications. Applicants must also have worked abroad for at least 12 months during either their Ph.D.s or postdocs.

Further information

Emmy Noether Guest Lecture Series 2017

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