Short Portrait: Claudius Müller

Claudius Müller
Claudius Müller

Dr. Claudius Müller was born in Austria in 1945 and grew up in the rural Styria region. He developed an early interest in history, languages and literature. Müller finished school in 1964.

The same year he took up his studies at the Ruprecht-Karls-University in Heidelberg, where his father held a professorship for mathematics. Müller chose Sinology as his major subject and began to learn Classical Chinese. Wolfgang Bauer was his main teacher. Müller also attended lectures on Philosophy, Economics and History. Moreover, Anthropology was among his minor subjects and he attended lectures at the Institute for Sociology and Ethnology. Ernst Topitsch, Ulla Johansen and E.W. Mühlmann were among his teachers.

In 1966/67 Müller studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, where Dennis Twitchett was among his teachers. There he also began to study Modern Chinese. After his return to Germany Müller followed Bauer to Munich in 1967/68 and continued his studies. Eventually he also deepened his knowledge about Anthropology and attended lectures at the Institute for Ethnology and African Studies, where László Vajda, Helmut Straube and Otto Zerries were among his teachers.

Furthermore, Müller developed a growing interest in the political and social issues of the late 1960s and early 1970s. For five years he worked as a translator and editor for a number of publishing houses. In 1978 Müller finished his PhD thesis. Eventually he took up a position at the Munich State Museum of Ethnology in 1979.

Throughout the following years Müller not only organized a large number of exhibitions, he also did guided tours and undertook several journeys around the world. He went to the Philippines in 1982/83 and travelled through China for the first time in 1985.

In 1986 Müller took up a position at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin. Besides organizing exhibitions he also became co-editor of the renowned anthropological journal »Zeitschrift für Ethnologie“ (ZfE). Müller not only emphasized the importance of new approaches for the museological work but also tried to establish a stronger collaboration between academic and museum anthropologists. Eventually Müller became deputy chairman of the museum.

In 2001 Müller returned to Munich, where he became head chairman at the reopened State Museum of Ethnology. He retired in 2010.

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