Dr Christian Müller, FRHistS

Associate Professor of European and International History, School of International Studies

International Studies / Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Staff Profile Portrait Image


Contact

Office

Room 319-2, IEB

Campus

University of Nottingham Ningbo China

Address

199 Taikang East Road, Ningbo, 315100, China

Telephone

+86 (0)574 8818 0000 (Ext. 8074) or +86 (0)574 8818 0125

Qualifications

Master of Studies (M.Stud.), University of Oxford, University College, UK

Magister Artium (M.A.), Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Germany

Dr. phil. (PhD), Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Germany

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS)

Visiting Fellow, University of Oxford

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Vice Chancellor’s Medal of the University of Nottingham (2018)

Lord Dearing Award of the University of Nottingham (2020)


Biography

I am a social, political and cultural historian who focuses on the intersections of British and European Imperialism and Internationalism and their local manifestations in the 19th and 20th century. My particular interest lies in the transnational and transcultural aspects of the crossings between Global and National/Local History, the connections of imperial and transnational spaces, and the history of ideas and concepts in political practice. After my PhD in History, I was elected Mellon Prize Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for History and Economics and at King’s College, Cambridge (2007-8). Before coming to UNNC in August 2015, I have taught and researched as Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Universities of Muenster (2008-12), Ghent (2011-13) and Goettingen-Hildesheim (2013-15). At UNNC, I have served as Deputy Head of School (2016-17), Faculty Director of Marketing (2016-18) and Academic Exchange Coordinator (2015 to present) as well as on other University and Faculty Boards. I was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in November 2018. I have held Visiting Fellowships at The Rothermere American Institute and Saint Antony’s College, Oxford, the University of Ghent and the Camera dei Deputati in Rome. I remain a Visiting Fellow of the University of Oxford and have a life-long affiliation to University College Oxford.

My passion is the history of social and political ideas and their transformations in transnational and global crossings. I have also published widely on the political usage of ideas and concepts in historical and current debates on constitutional politics, the field of religion and politics, and the framing of heritage in a post-industrial age. I am currently working on monographs on personal networks in the rise of modern internationalism in Europe (1840-1910), on the relations between European imperialism and humanitarianism in East Asia from a global perspective (1860-1930), and on a transnational biography of Gustave Moynier, the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Other current projects include European Imperialism of development in Asia and Europe-Asia Encounters, the history of transnational anti-slavery movements and labour regimes under the League of Nations, Globalisation against Disease on international congresses 1851-1936, and Heritage and Development Studies in Asia.

I am the School Director of Research and the Co-Director of the Centre for Advanced International Studies. I also lead the Research Cluster in the School on Global, Imperial and Transnational Histories and the project of ‘The Future of Asian Pasts’ in the Global Institute for Silk Road Studies. In these roles, I am deeply involved with promoting the unique and thriving interdisciplinary research culture of the school and the Centre and fostering in my specific research roles the benefits of historical perspectives in non-historical fields for understanding global connections, heritage, and historical dimensions of sustainability.

Born in a middle-size town, Witten/Ruhr, in post-industrial Ruhr-area Germany (Westphalia), I have lived in many countries and travelled extensively. I love learning languages, sailing and listening to classical music, and I enjoy long bike rides in the Oxford countryside or along the Baltic Sea coast.


Teaching

I have won many awards for my teaching in the School and at University level and I enjoy interacting with my students very much. In late 2020, the University of Nottingham recognised my engagement in driving teaching and learning excellence forward with a prestigious Lord Dearing Award.

I currently teach a third year Special Subject: Transnational History and Politics, and a fourth year Optional Subject: The Rise and Fall of the British Empire. I also convene and teach on the third year special subject: Silk Roads – Cultural Interactions and Perceptions. Additionally, I teach at MA level an optional subject on the Global History of Empire. I occasionally give lectures and seminars on year one and two modules (ITH, UTW, R2M, HPT). I also contribute to Dissertation I at undergraduate and to Core Concepts and Methods at MA level.

Undergraduate

  • INTS 1008 Roads to Modernity: Europe 1789-1945 (spring, team-taught)
  • INTS 1020 History of Political Thought (spring, team-taught)
  • INTS 2037 The Silk Roads – Cultural Interactions and Perceptions (autumn, team-taught)
  • INTS 2029 Transnational History and Politics (spring)
  • INTS 3006 The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (spring)
  • INTS 3002 Dissertation I Preliminary Analysis (autumn, team-taught)

Postgraduate

  • DS 4001 Core Concepts (autumn and spring, team-taught)
  • DS 4020 The British Empire – A Global History of Empire (spring)

 


Research interests

Expertise Summary

Imperialism, Internationalism, and Transnational Agency, 1840-1940

I am interested in the transformation of internationalism as a political, social and cultural phenomenon through different global and transnational connection, circulations and relations in the 19th and 20th centuries. My research focuses on identifying key actors and personal networks that help transform structures and mechanisms of international, transnational and global interactions in and between nation-states and Empires, mainly between North America, Europe and Asia. In doing so, I utilise connected laboratories of ideas and actions to identify options and challenges of individual and collective agency in the past that speak to the historical understanding of sustainable development in social rights, humanitarianism, labour and anti-slavery, and political and legal mechanisms that lead to stable international institutions.

 

Fields of Expertise

  • Britain, Europe and the Wider World since 1600
  • Global, Transnational, Imperial and International History since 1750
  • Connections and Transfers between Europe and East Asia since 1800
  • Comparative Political and Social History of Europe and North America
  • Approaches to History - Comparisons, Transfers, Histoire Croisée
  • The Rise of Modern Internationalism and Imperialism, 1840-1930
  • History of Humanitarianism, Philanthropy, and Global Social Rights
  • Transnational personal networks, international NGOs and organisations
  • Transnational history of political and social reform
  • International and global civil society
  • History of political and social thought
  • History of International law, imperial and colonial thought.

Research Interest

Christian’s projects focuses on identifying key actors and personal networks that help transform structures and mechanisms of international, transnational and global interactions in and between nation-states and Empires, mainly between North America, Europe and Asia.

In my projects on Gustaver Moynier and on The Politics of Expertise, I follow actors and their networks in establishing new circulatory regimes of legal, political and social norms under the influence of internationalism, nationalism and imperialism until 1914. I am particularly interested in the role of individual agency and their informal networks in forging imperial and transnational spaces, transfer and exchange of knowledge, and the use of rhetoric in designing outward-looking agendas.

My projects on Humanitarianism and Empire and on Inter-Imperial Knowledge Exchange, Slavery and Labour under the League of Nations focus on the use of civilisation and development as normative tools for global alignment and their contestations. The projects focus on the European use of civilisation and development as normative tools for global alignment and their contestations from regional actors. In following these dialogic contestations, Christian aims to show how imperial aspirations are transformed into mutual efforts of exchange, complex cooperation and transnational alignment. I am also interested in the rise of international vulnerable subjects under the League of Nations and their protection (the child, the refugee, the stateless, the labourer, and the slave) and the role of disease, disease control, and quarantine in forging the modern world from 1830 to 1950.

A developing research interest focuses on European perceptions of Asia through travel writings and consular reports. With a critical approach towards post-modern conceptual frameworks of ‘Orientalism’, my work on travel reports and consular reports in the 19th and early 20th century conceptualises and operationalises different forms of curiosity that intersects with imperial and ethnocentric assumptions in producing knowledge and mapping space through Eurasia on land and sea. This also takes into account global connectivities and the operationalisation of the concepts of connections, transit, and agency in historical frameworks. Here, my interest lies especially in subaltern connections between Asia, Europe, and North America that forge connections and spaces of transit by exercising their agency within imperial frameworks.

Another focus of my studies combines the conceptualisations and usages of cultural and industrial heritage as a transnational and translocal phenomenon with the utilization of the past for political and economic development. I am also interested in cultural and industrial heritage and the invention of industrial pasts as a tool for regional and environmental development plans. My collective volume enquires into the topic in a bi-lateral comparative perspective. I consider Cultural Heritage and the Invention of the Past as vital keys to understanding modern global historiography and history teaching.

In parallel, I am interested in comparative political and social history and political thought in every-day practice in 19th century Western Europe with a particular focus on Germany, Britain, France, Italy and the Dutch-speaking countries. I am interested in what kind of political system developed in countries that combined Western concepts of government for the people, through the people, and by the people – both in the past and in the future. I follow a historical and comparative approach that traces dynamics within states and societies to identify transfer processes of party formation, nation- and state-building, and inner and outer peace building in combination. I am particularly curious about the different procedures of how to make the individual vote count in systems of majority constituencies all over the world. A historical view on proportional representation since the discourse on Thomas Hare and John Stuart Mill before the 1867 Second Reform Act in England and Great Britain, and its repercussions on the European continent and world-wide ever since is key to this. The main question is which majority will rule in modern democracy – the majority of the caucus, the calculation, the rich, or the enlightened?

 

PhD supervision

UNNC Ningbo

  • Georg Schindler (First Supervisor)
  • Andrew Spivey (First Supervisor)
  • Craig Simon (Second Supervisor with Gary Rawnsley)
  • Peiqing Zhao (Second Supervisor with Tracey Fallon)
  • Shokhrukh Ashrafi (Second Supervisor with David Kiwuwa)

UoNottingham UK

  • Xue Xiyan (Second Supervisor with Julian Henderson, UNUK, and BUFL)
  • Will Critchlow (Second Supervisor with Chun-Yi Lee, UNUK)

Previous external PhD

  • Recent PhD co-supervision: Matthias Voigt, M.A., “Re-Inventing the Warrior – Native Men in Struggle 1968-1973” (US-American History, University of Frankfurt/Main, Germany) – informal tutoring and supervision (PhD project finished)
  • 7 Finished PhD projects in Münster and Ghent

Informal supervision for scholarships/ PhD students within the network Arbeiterkind.de (First Generation Academics Network Germany, NGO) on a voluntary non-financial basis around the world.


Publications

MONOGRAPHS AND COLLECTIVE VOLUMES:

Christian MÜLLER, Matteo SALONIA (Eds.), Travel Writings on Asia. Curiosity, Identities, and Knowledge across the East, c. 1200 to the present (Singapore: Palgrave, 2022 forthcoming).

Christian MÜLLER et al. (Eds.), Interdisciplinary Approaches to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (E-Book), https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/asiaresearch/documents/bri-special-issue-e-book-publication.pdf .

Thies SCHULZE, Christian MÜLLER (Eds.), Grenzüberschreitende Religion. Vergleichs- und Kulturtransferstudien zur neuzeitlichen Geschichte (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014). [English title: Religions crossing borders. Modern History Case Studies in Comparative and Transfer Methods on Religion and Politics]

Christian MÜLLER, Peter ITZEN (Eds.), The Invention of Industrial Pasts. Heritage, political culture and economic debates in Great Britain and Germany, 1850-2010 (Augsburg: Wißner Publishers, 2013).

Christian MÜLLER, Das Wahlrecht als Waffe. Die Wahlrechtsdiskussionen in Deutschland zwischen Revolution und Reichsgründungszeit, 1848-1881 (Düsseldorf, 2023 forthcoming). [English title: The Suffrage as Rhetorical Weapon. Political Retrenchment, Nation-Building and Electoral Reform in Germany, 1848-1881]

Christian MÜLLER, Edgar J. FEUCHTWANGER, Königin Viktoria und ihre Zeit (Gleichen-Zürich; Muster-Schmidt Verlag Göttingen, 2004). [English title: Queen Victoria and the Victorian Age]

 

SELECTED BOOK CHAPTERS AND ARTICLES:

Christian MÜLLER, ‘German Dreams of an Empire in the Far East. The German Expeditions to East Asia and Ferdinand von Richthofen’s encounters with China, 1850 – 1880’, Travel Writings on Asia. Curiosity, Identities, and Knowledge across the East, c. 1200 to the present, eds. Christian MÜLLER, Matteo SALONIA (Singapore: Palgrave, 2022), 30 pp.

Christian MÜLLER, Matteo Salonia, ‘Introduction: Curiosity and Knowledge in Travel Writings on Asia’, Travel Writings on Asia. Curiosity, Identities, and Knowledge across the East, c. 1200 to the present, eds. Christian MÜLLER, Matteo SALONIA (Singapore: Palgrave, 2022), 20 pp.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘The Imperial “Guardians” of Slavery. International Humanitarianism, Colonial Labour Policies, and the Crisis of Imperial Governance under the League of Nations, 1919-1926’, Humanitarianism and the Greater War, 1911-1923, eds. Elisabeth Piller, Neville Wylie (Manchester: Manchester University Press), 30 pp.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Global Ningbo. Observations on the sense of place and the ‘spatial turn’ in Global History,’ Nottingham e-prints, 2021. http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/65386.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘The vital importance of being “civilised”. The International Scramble for Humanitarianism and the ‘Peculiarities’ of Late Qing China, 1870-1910,’ forthcoming (2022).

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Incompatible Languages of Reform. Parliamentary Reform, Proportional Representation, and Party Retrenchment in Britain and Western Europe, 1850-1880’, forthcoming (2022).

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Between Adoption and Resistance. China’s Efforts of “Understanding the West,” the Challenges of Transforming Monarchical Legitimacy, and the Rise of Oriental Exceptionalism, 1860-1910,’ International flows in the Belt and Road Initiative: Business, Peoples, Ideas and History, eds. David O’Brien et al. (Singapore: Palgrave, 2020), 219-252. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-3133-0_10.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘The Invention of the Silk Road, or how to legitimise the BRI with a historical myth’ Asia Dialogue (2019): https://theasiadialogue.com/2019/02/01/the-invention-of-the-silk-road-how-to-legitimise-the-bri-with-a-historical-myth/

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Viewing Chinese Foreign Policy through the lens of the Chinese Classics’ Asia Dialogue (2019) https://theasiadialogue.com/2019/01/28/viewing-chinese-foreign-policy-through-the-lens-of-the-chinese-classics/

Christian MÜLLER, ‘“And What Do We Know about China”? The International Labour Office, Albert Thomas and Republican China, 1919 – 1930,’ Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society China 78,1 (2018), pp. 111-123.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Berlin Conference’ in: Mark DOYLE (Ed.), The British Empire: A Historical Encyclopaedia, 2 Vols. (Santa Barbara/CA: Greenwood, 2018), Vol. 2, 6-8.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Boxer Rebellion’ in: Mark DOYLE (Ed.), The British Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia, 2 Vols. (Santa Barbara/CA: Greenwood, 2018), Vol. 2, 10-13.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘China’ in: Mark DOYLE (Ed.), The British Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia, 2 Vols. (Santa Barbara/CA: Greenwood, 2018), Vol. 2, 203-205.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Free Trade’ in: Mark DOYLE (Ed.), The British Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia, 2 Vols. (Santa Barbara/CA: Greenwood, 2018), Vol. 1, 24-26.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Gladstone, W.E.’ in: Mark DOYLE (Ed.), The British Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia, 2 Vols. (Santa Barbara/CA: Greenwood, 2018), Vol. 1, 241-243.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Parliamentary System’ in: Mark DOYLE (Ed.), The British Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia, 2 Vols. (Santa Barbara/CA: Greenwood, 2018), Vol. 1, 56-58.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Responsible Government’ in: Mark DOYLE (Ed.), The British Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia, 2 Vols. (Santa Barbara/CA: Greenwood, 2018), Vol. 1, 133-135.

Christian MÜLLER, Ch. 6: ‘The Politics of Expertise: The Association Internationale pour le Progrès des Sciences Sociales, Democratic Peace Movements and International Law Networks in Europe 1850-1875‘, in: Davide Rodogno et al. (Eds.), Shaping the Transnational Sphere. Experts, Networks and Issues from the 1840s to the 1930s (New York – Oxford: 2015), 131-151.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘“It has been a wordy war”. Die Frühphase des Schulstreits in Belgien, Frankreich und den Niederlanden im Vergleich und die Transnationalen Grundlagen der “Culture Wars”, 1857-1870‘, in: Thies SCHULZE, Christian MÜLLER (Eds.), Grenzüberschreitende Religion. Vergleichs- und Kulturtransferstudien zur neuzeitlichen Geschichte (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013), 116-139. [English: “It has been a wordy war.” The origins and early phases of the school conflict in Belgium, France and the Netherlands in comparative perspective and the transnational foundations of the “Culture Wars”, 1857-1870]

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Industrial Heritage in a Post-Industrial Age. Heritage Debates and Perspectives in Britain and Germany, 1880 to the present,’ in: Peter Itzen, Christian Müller, The Invention of Industrial Pasts. Heritage, Political Culture and Economic Debates in Great Britain and Germany, 1850–2010 (Augsburg: Wißner, 2013), 3-13 [together with Peter Itzen].

Christian MÜLLER, Jasmien VAN DAELE, ‘Peaks of Internationalism in Social Engineering: A Transnational History of International Social Reform Associations and Belgian Agency, 1860–1925,’ in: Beyond Belgium, Special Edition of the Revue Belge de Philologie et d’Histoire RBPH/BTFG 90, 4 (2012), 1297-1320.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Von spezifischen Christenrechten zu universalen Menschenrechten? Überlegungen zur Genese, Definition und Durchsetzbarkeit von Menschenrechten in der internationalen Ordnung, 1780-1950‘, in: Karl GABRIEL et al. (Eds.), Umstrittene Säkularisierung. Soziologische und Historische Analysen zur Differenzierung von Religion und Politik (Berlin: BUP, 2012), 378-407. [English: From Christian rights to universal human rights? Considerations on the genesis, definition and legal implementation of human rights in the international order, 1780-1950].

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Designing the model European – Liberal and republican concepts of citizenship in Europe in the 1860s: The Association Internationale pour le Progrès des Sciences Sociales’ in: History of European Ideas 37, 2 (2011), 223-231.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Contested Memories of the Revolution. The Remembrance of Revolutionary Suffrage Laws (1848/49) as Political Arguments in German Discussions on Constitutional Reform, 1860-1875’, in: “Remembering and Forgetting.” Yearbook Young Legal History 2 (2007), 292-311.

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Zensur, Geheimnis und Öffentlichkeit. Der Journalismus des literarischen „Jungen Deutschland“ und dessen Politisierung durch den Deutschen Bund 1835/36’, in: Politischer Journalismus – Öffentlichkeiten – Medien im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, ed. Clemens Zimmermann (Stuttgart: Thorbecke, 2006), 41-60 [English: ‘Censorship, Secrecy and the Public Sphere. The Journalism of the literary Young German movement and its politicization in the German Confederacy in the 1830s‘].

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Lübeck und der Rheinische Städtebund 1254-1256. Formen und Möglichkeiten städtischer Politik an der Wende zum Spätmittelalter ‘, in: Zeitschrift des Vereins für Lübeckische Geschichte und Altertumskunde 80 (2000), 143-165. [English: Lübeck and the Rhenish Town League 1254-1256. Forms and Chances of town politics at the turn from the High to the Late Middle Ages].

Christian MÜLLER, ‚Die Teilnehmer der Heidelberger Versammlung, 5 März 1848,‘ in: Auf dem Weg zur Paulskirche. Die Heidelberger Versammlung vom 5. März 1848, eds. Frank Engehausen, Frieder Hepp (Ubstadt-Weiher: Verlag Regionalkultur, 1998), 43-65. [English: The participants of the Heidelberg meeting, 5 March 1848 – elite networks on the road to the German revolution of 1848].

 

SELECTED REACH OUT PIECES (RADIO/DIDACTICS/INTERVIEWS):

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles and the Invention of Modern Singapore’, in: Praxis Englisch 4-2021 (Munich-Braunschweig: Westermann Schroedel).

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Queen Victoria’, in: Praxis Englisch 5-2020 (Munich-Braunschweig: Westermann Schroedel).

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Early British Imperialism, 1588-1750’, in: Praxis Englisch 5-2020 (Munich-Braunschweig: Westermann Schroedel).

Christian MÜLLER, ‘The British Empire and China’, in: Praxis Englisch 5-2020 (Munich-Braunschweig: Westermann Schroedel).

Christian MÜLLER, Interview with Tianyige Library and Museum, Ningbo for International Museum Day (18 May 2020). Link: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/ZvkAvg7c-EM_RsgcQaJJTw

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Manichaeism in American Culture’, in: Praxis Englisch 4-2016 (Munich-Braunschweig: Westermann Schroedel), pp. 43-45. [Didactic reflective essay for teachers and lecturers on Manichaeism and Civil Religion]

Christian MÜLLER, ‘All the world is on stage. Notions of behavior and non-verbal communication in the world of work’, in: Praxis Englisch 3-2015 (Munich-Braunschweig: Westermann Schroedel), pp. 44-47. [Didactic reflective essay for teachers and lecturers on non-verbal communication for grammar/ high school and undergraduate classes]

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Get inspired: Get a degree. How to apply for university in the UK‘, in: Praxis Englisch 3-2015 (Munich-Braunschweig: Westermann Schroedel), p. 25. [Didactic essay for teachers on how to teach students British application procedures]

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Selling with a Smile. The globalization of work’, in: Praxis Englisch 3-2015 (Munich-Braunschweig: Westermann Schroedel), pp. 22-23. [Didactic essay for teachers on how to incorporate work globalization in foreign language education]

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Belgium and Beyond. Transnationale Geschiedenis in België vanuit een Duits Onderzeoks- en onderwijsperspectief.’ Interview with the Belgian History Association, in: Bulletin / Mededelingenblad van de Belgische Vereniging voor Nieuwe Geschiedenis XXXV, 2013, 2, 26-31. [Interview in Dutch on the transnational perspectives of being an academic expat in Belgium and the perspective for students in the European Union as a study and research area beyond borders and boundaries]

Christian MÜLLER, ‘Radio Interview “Stichtag”’, 22 January 2011 – the 110th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s death, WDR 2, 22 January 2011 [German short version of the BBC4 broadcast “In our time” – West German Broadcasting Corporation, Station 2, Interview]