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Cambridge Interfaith Programme


Dr Tobias   Müller

Dr Tobias Müller is Affiliated Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), affiliated researcher at the Faculty of Divinity and College Research Associate at King’s College, University of Cambridge. From 2018-20, he was Junior Research Fellow at the Woolf institute.

Tobias works at the intersection of political theory, comparative politics, religious studies and political sociology. His research interests include political theory, 20th century political thought, postcolonial and feminist theory, secularism and religion, gender and masculinity, and the politics of climate change. Tobias received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2020 and holds degrees in Politics, International Relations, Study of Religion, and Law from the University of Cambridge and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich.

Tobias Müller’s research explores how different social, religious and political groups challenge political institutions and how contemporary states respond to these challenges. He is interested in employing ethnographic methods to discover the experiences and meanings of contested politics on the ground and use these for rethinking political concepts and theories. He has applied this approach mainly in the fields of secularism and religion, gender and masculinities, and climate change.

From 2018 to 2020, Tobias Müller was principal researcher of the project Strictly Observant Religion, Gender and the State working with Dr Ed Kessler. The project aimed to understand how groups that claim strict observance to their religion interact with the state regarding questions of gender and sexuality. The project showed how gender in general, and forms of masculinity in particular, emerge as fields of contestation between religious people and the secular-liberal order advanced through the modern state. Findings of the project will be published as special issue in the American Behavioural Scientist on “Strictly Observant Religion, Gender and the State in the 21st Century”.

Tobias' PhD research, Muslims and the Relational State. Contesting Security, Identity, Diversity, which he is currently turning into a book manuscript, was supervised by Dr Sara Silvestri and Prof Duncan Kelly and was supported by a Vice Chancellor's Award from the University of Cambridge and a doctoral scholarship of the German National Scholarship Foundation. His doctoral research investigated patterns of the mutually transformative interactions of Muslims and various levels of the state through the lens of two diverse urban neighbourhoods in Germany and the UK.

Tobias’ recent work was published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Political TheorySocial Compass, Review of Faith & International Affairs and Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft / Comparative Politics and Governance. He is co-editor of a special issue in Ethnic and Racial Studies on “Rethinking Islam and Space in Europe: Governance, Institutions, Performance”.


Journal articles:

Müller, Tobias, Adela Taleb and Chris Moses (forthcoming): Islam and Space in Europe: The politics of race, time and secularism. Ethnic and Racial Studies.

Müller, Tobias (2021): State, space, secularism: towards a critical study of governing religion. Ethnic and Racial Studies, online first:

Müller, Tobias (2020): Secularisation theory and its discontents. Recapturing decolonial and gendered narratives. Social Compass, 67(2), 315-322.

Müller, Tobias (2019): Reconsidering the spatiality of religion and the state: relationality and the mosque not built. Religion, State & Society, 47(4–5), 474–490.

Müller, Tobias (2018): Destabilizing Religion, Secularism, and the State, in Political Theory, 46(3), 455-466. 

Müller, Tobias (2018): Constructing Cultural Boarders: Depictions of Muslim Refugees in British and German Media, Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft / Comparative Governance and Politics12(1), 263-277.

Müller, Tobias (2017): Engaging "Moderates" Against "Extremists" in German Politics on Islam, in The Review of Faith & International Affairs, 15(2), 55-65.

Müller, Tobias (2016): Il potere del popolo è laico? Un'analisi critica della religione e del potere del popolo nella teoria democratia liberale (Is people's power secular? A critical analysis of religion and people's power in liberal democratic theory), in Rivista di Politica, 4/2016, 49-64. 

Book chapters:

Müller, Tobias (2020) “Reconsidering the spatiality of religion and the state: Relationality and the mosque not built”, in Julia Martínez-Ariño (ed.), Governing religion in cities: Critical perspectives, London: Routledge, 111-127.

Müller, Tobias (2018): Sicherheitswissen und Extremismus. Definitionsdynamiken in der deutschen Islampolitik (Security knowledge and extremism. Dynamics of definition in the German politics on Islam), in Schirin Amir-Moazami (ed.) Der Inspizierte Muslim. Zur Politisierung der Islamforschung in Europa, Bielefeld: Transcript.

Müller, Tobias (2017): Constructing Islam and Secularism in the German Islam Conference, in Paul Anderson and Julian Hargreaves (ed), Muslims in the UK and Europe III, Cambridge: Centre for Islamic Studies, 49-62. Available online:

Müller, Tobias (2017): Provincializing Political Education: Postkoloniale Politische Theorie, in Markus Gloe und Tonio Oeftering (ed), Politische Theorie meets Politische Bildung, Wiesbaden: Nomos.

Müller, Tobias (2015) “Contemporary Islamic Thinkers' Understandings of Secularism” Master Thesis, University of Cambridge, in: Perspectives in the Study of Religion, Open access publication,


Tobias Müller lectures and teaches on various courses at the Department of Politics and International Studies and the Department of Sociology. He convenes the MPhil course "The Politics of Intersectionality: Race, Class and Gender", lectures on the undergraduate course POL12, “Politics and Religion” on the module “Political Ecology and Religion in the Global South”, lectures on SOC11, “Race, Racism and Ethnicity” and holds seminars at various MPhil courses at POLIS and other faculties. He supervises and examines on several undergraduate courses in political theory, comparative politics, international relations, contemporary religion and sociology.

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