Michael G. Müller

Michael G. Müller is professor em. in the Department of History at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.

He studied History and Slavonic Languages at the University of Frankfurt/Main where he took his MA (1974) and PhD (1978). Since 1978 he worked as assistant professor at the universities of Giessen and Berlin (Freie Universität) and completed his habilitation in 1992. In the same year, he was appointed professor in East European History at the European University Institute in Florence/Italy and, in 1996, professor at Halle-Wittenberg.

Between 1996 and 2014 he directed three research projects (‘Government by estate in Early Modern Central Europe’, ‘Elite Transformation in Central Europe in the 19th Century’, ‘Religious Peace and Confessional Co-Habitation in Central Europe’) at Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum Kultur und Geschichte Ostmitteleuropas in Leipzig. In Halle, he acted as co-director of the DFG-funded International Graduate School Halle-Tokyo (‘Transformations of Civic Society in Germany and Japan’) and of the International Max Planck Research School ‘Anthropology, Archeology and History in Eurasia’. He was the founding director of the Aleksander Brückner Centre for Polish Studies Halle-Jena established in 2014. He is a member of the editorial boards of Kwartalnik Historyczny, Zapiski Historyczne and Czasopismo Prawno-Historyczne. In 2012, Warsaw University awarded him the title of Doctor honoris causa.

Research interest:
Comparative constitutional history of Central Europe and Russia in the Early Modern period
International relations in 18th Century Europe
Social history of elites, 18th-20th Centuries
Confessional cultures and the history of religious toleration in Europe since the reformation

Research project: Religious Peace in 16th Century Europe

The project deals with the political and legal arrangements for inter-confessional peace keeping that emerged in Europe in reaction to the religious divide of the Reformation. It aims at critically re-examining and re-interpreting these arrangements in the light of 21st century experiences with religious conflicts.

Most European historians still claim that the Reformation was the starting point for the gradual emergence of a culture of religious tolerance in Europe and, in a universal sense, for an irreversible evolution towards secular societies on a global scale. However, not only their colleagues outside Europe but also anthropologists or political scientists have convincingly challenged the secularization paradigm in general and the historical validity of the concept of tolerance in particular. It thus seems worthwhile to reconsider the history of religious peacemaking in the 16th century from another than the traditional ‘evolutionist’ perspective.

The study focusses on three questions: 1. How was religious peace and toleration of the other conceptualized, and was confessional coexistence in 16th century Christian Europe conceivable at all? 2. What were the political, legal and theological pre-conditions for negotiating the different European peace arrangements? 3. How did such arrangements relate to the practices of inter-confessional cohabitation and interaction?

While concentrating on the 16th Century the study might also contribute to the ongoing debate in social sciences and humanities about the causes and the nature of religious conflict in general, and about the prospects of coping with religious diversity in the 21st Century. A model could be Barbara Tuchmann’s classical study of the European ‘crisis of the 14th Century ‘ that presents the challenges and dilemmas of the Late Middle Ages as a ‘distant mirror’ of present day social, political, and cultural dynamics.

Dates of stay: 01 October 2017 - 28 February 2018

foto: Wikipedia