Press release 32/23 - 04.05.2023

New DFG Heisenberg Professor at the University of Augsburg

New DFG Heisenberg Professor, Prof. Dr Simone Müller, works at the interdisciplinary interface between environmental history and the environmental humanities.

The University of Augsburg has appointed historian Prof. Dr Simone Müller, an expert on global environmental history and environmental humanities, as new DFG Heisenberg Professor. The sought-after historian, who works in an advisory capacity for the Polish National Science Council, the Academy of Finland, and the Swedish Research Council, researches globalisation processes and the relationship between ecology and economy. In 2017, she was nominated by the German Research Foundation as a leading researcher in her field (


Prof. Dr. Simone Müller © University of Augsburg

“My research interests range from the international trade in hazardous waste and toxicity as a historical construct to the history of economic-ecological thinking and vertical environmental concepts such as the study of maritime spaces,” explains the environmental historian. She locates her work at the interdisciplinary interface between environmental history and the environmental humanities, a new interdisciplinary research alliance of various humanities disciplines that want to actively contribute their research to environmental debates. As co-spokesperson of the International Doctorate Programme “Um(Welt)Denken,” funded by the Elite Network of Bavaria, Müller also deals with questions related to the ecological transformation of society. Her book “The Toxic Ship,” which deals with the global trade in toxic waste, will go on sale in August.

Before her appointment at the University of Augsburg, Müller headed the DFG funded Emmy Noether Research Group “Hazardous Travels. Ghost Acres and the Global Waste Economy” at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität Munich. Müller’s diverse interests have also led to stints as a visiting professor at the University of Vienna as well as time as a professor of modern history at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. She has also been a research fellow at the Norwegian University of Agder (Kristiansand), at the History Science Institute, and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, as well as at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Bielefeld and at the Center for Advanced Studies at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.

“The University of Augsburg is the ideal location for this Heisenberg Professorship.”

Müller aims to establish and develop the field of environmental history at the University of Augsburg and to further strengthen the already existing environmental humanities. “The humanities, in particular, with their research focus on changing norms, values, responsibility, but also historicity and temporality, can and must provide important impulses for current political debates on climate change, species extinction, and the increasing pollution of the planet,” says Müller. Planetary environmental crises should not be framed solely as a technological problem that the engineering and natural sciences can solve alone. “Rather, it is also about important questions concerning global inequality and distributive justice, which can only be grasped through an understanding of historically evolved (post)colonial processes,” she adds.

As part of her research and together with the Environmental Science Center and the Institute for European Cultural History at the University of Augsburg, Müller plans to expand the university’s focus on water. “As a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historical water management and with its close proximity to the Lech River, the University of Augsburg is perfectly suited to dedicating itself to the topic of water,” says Müller. Other focal points of her research are interdisciplinary research on resilience and the exploration of walking as an (environmental) historical method and as a student teaching-learning project. “The University of Augsburg, with its many interconnected research projects in the environmental field is the ideal location for this Heisenberg Professorship. I am very much looking forward to my new role,” says Müller.

Scientific contact

DFG-Heisenberg Professor
Global Environmental History and Environmental Humanities
  • Phone: +49 821 598 - 2794
  • Email:
  • Room 4505 (Building D)

Media contact

Dr. Manuela Rutsatz
Media Officer
Communications and Media Relations
  • Phone: +49 821 598-2096
  • Email:
  • Room 3001 (Building A)