Dr Simon Brodbeck

Dr Simon Brodbeck

Reader in Religious Studies

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

Research interests

  • Early Sanskrit Literature, especially the Sanskrit Mahabharata
  • Anthropology

Research projects

  • Text, Translation, and Interpretation of the Early Krishna Story: the Cardiff Harivamsha Project.
  • The History of Genealogy, the Genealogy of History: Family and the Narrative Construction of the Significant Past in Early South Asia.
  • Epic Constructions: Gender, Myth, and Society in the Mahabharata.

Member of the Centre for the History of Religion in Asia

Qualifications

  • BA (Clare College, Cambridge, 1992)
  • PGCE (King's College, London, 1993)
  • MA, PhD (School of Oriental and African Studies, London, 1995, 2002)

Employment

  • Lecturer, Department of Asian Studies (Sanskrit), Edinburgh University (2002--2004)
  • Research Assistant, Department of the Study of Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies, London (2004--2007)
  • Translator and Editor, Clay Sanskrit Library, Wolfson College, Oxford (2007--2008)
  • Research Assistant, Department of Religious and Theological Studies, Cardiff University (2008--2012)
  • Lecturer, Department of Religious and Theological Studies, Cardiff University (2012--2013)
  • Reader, Department of Religious and Theological Studies, Cardiff University (since 2013)

Professional memberships

  • British Association for the Study of Religions
  • Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland

Projects

Text, Translation, and Interpretation of the Early Krishna Story: the CardiffHarivamsha Project

This project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will run in the Department of Religious and Theological Studies from October 2011 to September 2014. Simon Brodbeck and Will Johnson will produce an English translation of the Sanskrit Harivamsha as critically reconstituted in 118 chapters by P. L. Vaidya in 1969. They will investigate the text-critical method used to reconstitute the text: how suitable is it for the Harivamsha, and what is the status of the critically reconstituted version? They will also attempt to reevaluate the relationship between the Harivamsha and theMahabharata.

The History of Genealogy, the Genealogy of History: Family and the Narrative Construction of the Significant Past in Early South Asia

Pre-modern South Asia has consistently but erroneously been presented as a land without 'history'; but in the Genealogy and History project (September 2008 to August 2011), Simon Brodbeck and James Hegarty explored how, in South Asia, 'family history' or 'genealogical narrative' has been an enduring resource for the formation and transformation of understandings of the past. Our key research question was: What is the role of genealogical narrative in early South Asia?

Family history has been used -- and is still used -- as something of a speculative laboratory in which to debate ideas of how one might, could, or should live (and much else besides). This project explored the forms and functions of family histories in Sanskrit literary and inscriptional sources. By doing so, it shed light on the cultural history of early South Asia, and also explored the ways in which human social groups originate, maintain, and transform understandings of the significant past. Funded by the AHRC.

Epic Constructions: Gender, Myth, and Society in the Mahabharata

This project was led by Simon Brodbeck and Brian Black in the Department of the Study of Religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, from April 2004 to March 2007. It explored how issues of gender are used by the Sanskrit Mahabharata in terms of its narrative and its philosophy. It explored in historical context the text's construction of various normative gender roles, and it explored certain specific themes in the Mahabharata in detail, such as the relation between patriliny, kingship, and sacrifice; the significance of female listeners; the gendering of the philosophical ideas of purusha and prakriti; the bi-gendered representational dimension of royalty; the representation of ambiguous genders; and the dialogical construction of gendered identities. Funded by the AHRC.

External profiles