The Bureaucratization of Islam in Southeast Asia: Islamic Discourse in the Context of State Power

Lecture | April 11 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Dominik Muller, Head of Research Group, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

 Center for Southeast Asia Studies

What happens, when Islam becomes translated into the “language” (codes, symbols, and procedures) of modern state bureaucracy, and how do the bureaucratic schemes of state-Islam diffuse into society? This talk will present an original conceptual framework for an anthropological study of the bureaucratization of Islam and its role in the exercise of classificatory state power in five Southeast Asian countries. National histories, discursive contexts and local power structures differ, but across the region, in each country state actors aim to influence the direction Islamic discourse is taking in their territories and engage in politically desirable Islamic meaning production. Drawing on debates in the anthropology of the state, Dr. Müller will empirically illustrate and theoretically explain “family resemblances” and differences of bureaucratized Islam in Southeast Asia, mainly drawing upon his own ethnographic work in Brunei and Singapore.

Dominik Muller heads the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology’s Research Group on "The Bureaucratization of Islam and Its Socio-Legal Dimensions in Southeast Asia“, and is presently a Visiting Fellow with the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. He is also a non-resident fellow at the Centre for Asian Legal Studies at the National University of Singapore. Dr. Muller was a visiting scholar at Stanford’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center in 2012-13. He is the author of a number of journal articles and book chapters on Islam in Southeast Asia, as well as the monograph Islam, Politics and Youth in Malaysia: The Pop-Islamist Reinvention of PAS (Routledge, 2014)., 510-642-3609