Katherine Butler Schofield
Professor Department of Music, King’s College, London
Katherine Butler Schofield (née Brown) is a historian of music in Mughal India and the colonial Indian Ocean. Working largely with Persian sources for Hindustani music c.1570-1860, in recent research she has established music as central to Mughal technologies of sovereignty and selfhood, identifiedclassicisation processes at work in early-modern Indian arts, examined the role of connoisseurship in nourishingmale friendships, told tales about ill-fated courtesans and overweeningustads, and traced the lineage of the chief musicians to the Mughal emperorsfrom Akbar to Bahadur Shah Zafar.
Her currentEuropean Research Council project, “Musical Transitions to European Colonialism in the Eastern Indian Ocean” (2011-15), investigates the ways in which the musical fieldwas transformed c.1750-1900as pre-colonialpolities gave way to colonial regimes in India and the Malay world. As part of this project she is co-writing a book, Hindustani music between empires: alternative histories, which explores the shift in cultural power from Mughal Delhi, via Nawabi Lucknow, to British Calcutta,from the perspective of a vast, rich and virtually unused archive of written sources in Persian, Brajbhasha, Hindi, Urdu and Bengaliwhich her team has located and documented. The resultant database, SHAMSA: Sources for the History and Analysis of the Music/Dance of South Asia, will be made available for public consultationin 2016.
Future work will examine the relationship between sympathy and music in the most extreme contexts of colonial power; cultural knowledge transfer between Bijapur and the Mughal Deccan in the late 16th/early 17th centuries; and intermediality as an optic for interpreting the rich transcultural North Indian aesthetic of borrowing between music, dance, art,architecture, and literature in the early modern period.