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Dr Katherine Schofield

Biographical details

Katherine Schofield is a historian of music and listening in Mughal India and the paracolonial Indian Ocean. She trained as a viola player before embarking on her PhD at SOAS, University of London, and came to King’s after a research fellowship at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and a lectureship at Leeds. She was formerly known as Katherine Butler Brown.

Working largely with Persian, Urdu, and visual sources for elite musical culture in North India and the Deccan c.1570–1860, Katherine’s general research interests lie in South Asian music and visual art; the history of Mughal India (1526–1858); Islam and Sufism; empire and the paracolonial; and the intersecting histories of the emotions, the senses, aesthetics, ethics, and the supernatural. Through stories about ill-fated courtesans, legendary musicians, and captivated patrons she writes on sovereignty and selfhood, affection and desire, sympathy and loss, and power, worldly and strange. 

In 2011–15 Katherine was Principal Investigator of a €1.18M European Research Council project (MUSTECIO, 263643) studying the ways in which music and dance were transformed c.1750–1900 in the transition to colonial rule in India and the Malay world; the Final Summary Report is available to download as a PDF below. She is the editor with Francesca Orsini of pioneering open-access volume Tellings and texts: music, literature, and performance in North India (Open Book, 2015), and with Imke Rajamani and Margrit Pernau Monsoon feelings: a history of emotions in the rain (Niyogi, 2018). In 2018 she is a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow, presenting six public lectures and conversations at the British Library that will become a monograph, Histories of the ephemeral: writing on music in late Mughal India, 1748–1858. The presentations are being podcasted throughout the year and can be found on her Soundcloud page:

Katherine is sought after as a speaker on the arts and culture of Mughal and early colonial India, and as a consultant on the material culture of Indian music c.1600–1900, especially Persian and Urdu manuscripts and musical paintings. As well as presenting guest lectures at academic institutions and conferences all over the world, she has been a speaker at the Jaipur Literature Festival, the Lahore Literature Festival (2019), the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the British Library. She is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, and a consultant to the Asian Music Circuit and the Horniman Museum, London.

Katherine welcomes applications for PhD topics in the areas of global music history, ethnomusicology, Islam, empire and colonialism, and Mughal India, especially work on the musical traditions of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, the Indian Ocean, and/or their global diasporas.

Types of Award - Fellowship awarded competitively

Mid-Career Fellowship

Katherine Butler Schofield (Recipient)

1 Jan 201831 Dec 2018

Activity: OtherTypes of Award - Fellowship awarded competitively

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