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24 November 2023

Dr Katherine Schofield appointed as RHS Fellow

Head of the Department of Music, Katherine Schofield is awarded Fellowship by the Royal Historical Society.

Katherine Schofield
Dr Katherine Schofield celebrates RHS Fellowship and book launch

Founded in 1868, the Royal Historical Society (RHS) is a successful learned society, membership organisation and charity working for historians and history. Fellowships are awarded to those who have made an original contribution to historical scholarship, typically through the authorship of a book, a body of scholarly work similar in scale and impact to a book, the organisation of exhibitions and conferences, the editing of journals, and other works of diffusion and dissemination grounded in historical research.

I am absolutely delighted to have been made a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and to be recognised by my peers for my work as a historian of Mughal India and its performing arts and cultural heritage.

Dr Katherine Schofield

On 23 November Dr Schofield published a new book; Music and Musicians in Late Mughal India: Histories of the Ephemeral, 1748–1848 with Cambridge University Press.

Music and musicians

Based on a vast, virtually unstudied archive of Indian writings alongside visual sources, the book presents the first history of music and musicians in late Mughal India c.1748–1858 and takes the lives of nine musicians as entry points into six prominent types of writing on music in Persian, Brajbhasha, Urdu and English, moving from Delhi to Lucknow, Hyderabad, Jaipur and among the British. It shows how a key Mughal cultural field responded to the political, economic and social upheaval of the transition to British rule, while addressing a central philosophical question: can we ever recapture the ephemeral experience of music once the performance is over? These diverse sources shine new light on the wider historical processes of this pivotal transitional period, and provide a new history of music, musicians and their audiences during the precise period in which North Indian classical music coalesced in its modern form.

“Schofield’s pathfinding work represents the most authoritative and comprehensive social history of music in Mughal india. Weaving a range of untapped archival materials with artful interpretation, it presents fresh and insightful perspectives on North Indian music in the early modern and colonial periods. This masterful work is unlike any other and sure to become thhe standard-bearer in the field” — Professor Davesh Soneji, University of Pennsylvania

Dr Schofield was recently appointed as Head of the Department of Music at King's- the first woman to have held this position in the Department’s 60 year history.

In this story

Katherine Butler Schofield

Senior Lecturer in South Asian Music and History