Samuel F. Müller

Junior Fellow

Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
October 2013-September 2014

Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
»Religion in Modern Societies as Challenge to Critical Theory«

Project outline:
The research I will be conducting in Bad Homburg concerns the role of religious worldviews andrntraditions in modern societies. To achieve the wider aim of developing a critical vocabulary suited torncomprehend »religion« from within the »secular« framework of critical theory, I will develop andrncompare the following conflicting perspectives:rnOn the one hand, I will explore to what extent religious worldviews and traditions are prone tornfunction as societal forces that purport to foster solidarity, universal justice, and meaning for one’srnindividual life, but actually aid modes of inequality, injustice, and social exclusion. On the otherrnhand, I will discuss the contrasting question of how traditions of faith can encapsulate experiencesrnand radical reinterpretations of the world that have the potential to instigate societal emancipation.rnHence, while the first question aims to rethink and reinvigorate a discussion on the conceptualrnconnections between »religion« and »ideology,« it is the second question, which might provernchallenging to the secular self-perception of the critical theorist.rnTo answer these questions, my research draws from Jürgen Habermas’s critical social theory.rnHabermas’s wide-ranging body of philosophical and sociological work, as I interpret it, givesrngrounds for both substantiating a »critique of religion,« while leaving open the possibility to think ofrn»religion as critical instance« in modern societies. (Samuel F. Müller)

Funding of the stay:
Excellence Cluster »The formation of normative orders«

Samuel Müller follows an invitation of Rainer Forst (Professor of Political Theory at Goethe University and speaker of the Cluster of Excellence »The Formation of Normative Orders« at Goethe University) and Matthias Lutz-Bachmann (Director of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften and Professor of Philosophy at Goethe University). His stay at the Institute is supported by the Alfons und Gertrud Kassel-Foundation and the Cluster of Excellence »The Formation of Normative Orders«.

Scholarly profile of Samuel F. Müller

Samuel F. Müller is a doctoral student at the Department of Politics at the New School for SocialrnResearch in New York. His dissertation is entitled »›Judeo-Christian Mysticism‹ and ›BourgeoisrnReligion‹: Reconstructing ›Religion‹ in Jürgen Habermas' Critical Social Theory, from The Absoluternand History to The Theory of Communicative Action«. He graduated with a Diplom in Social Sciences from Humboldt University of Berlin and received a M.A. as well as an M.Phil. degree in Politics from thernNew School for Social Research.

Main areas of research:
Critical social theory, political theory, the works of Jürgen Habermas, global politics, Turkey and the Middle East

Selected publications:
    Fallacies in Cultural Translation (in preparation).