Simon Conrad


I'm interested in the history of ethical thought and notions of the good life, particularly in the late medieval/early modern period, both in the Arab-Islamic and Indo-Islamic contexts. So far, I've focused on philosophical ethics, the cultivation of virtues (tahdhib al-akhlaq) and notions of moral personhood.

During my undergraduate studies (Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge), I took courses in Sufism and philosophy (mainly with Tony Street and Tim Winter) in addition to other introductory courses as well as a course in modern Islamic thought. During my one-year MA (Intellectual Encounters of the Islamicate World, FU Berlin), I studied some aspects of Shi'i thought and classical Arabic philosophical ethics (with Hinrich Biesterfeldt). I finished my undergraduate degree with research on Muhammad Abduh's moral pedagogy and my MA with research on Yahya ibn 'Adi's argument for sexual abstention, which included a lengthy translation from the treatise.

My main research language is Arabic, which greatly improved during a year spent in Khartoum in 2013/14, and I have basic knowledge of Hindi which I acquired during a year in India and have started taking courses in Persian. In terms of relevant work experience, I lived and worked at the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies in Cairo as an assistant researcher on the Institute’s 'project of the 200' for around 10 months, and co-founded the Cambridge University Middle East Society. I was very fortunate to receive generous support for my studies from the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes and the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, and was awarded the Shaykh Zayed Prize for Distinction in the Study of Islam upon graduating from Cambridge.

Year of Study
Seventh Year
Home Department & Other Affiliations
Near Eastern Studies