Katherine Butler Schofield is a historian of musicians, dancers, and their patrons in the Mughal Empire and the colonial Indian Ocean. She attained her PhD at SOAS, University of London, and after posts at Cambridge and Leeds is now in the Music Department at King’s College London, where she is also an Affiliate of the King’s India Institute. 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, identified classicisation processes at work in early-modern Indian arts, examined the role of connoisseurship in nourishing male friendships, told tales about ill-fated courtesans and overweening ustads, and traced the lineage of the chief musicians to the Mughal emperors from Akbar to Bahadur Shah Zafar.
She has recently finished her major European Research Council grant, “Musical Transitions to European Colonialism in the Eastern Indian Ocean” (2011-15), which investigates the multiple ways in which music and dance were transformed c.1750-1900 in the transition from pre-colonial to colonial regimes in India and the Malay world. Her first book, an edited volume with Francesca Orsini, Tellings and Texts: Music, Literature, and Performance in North India, has just been published in a pioneering open-access format by Open Book Press (2015). The three Musical Transitions volumes, which will be published over the next few years, are: Paracolonial Soundworlds: Musical Transitions in the Eastern Indian Ocean, 1750–1900 (with Julia Byl and David Lunn); Hindustani Music Between Empires: Alternative Histories, 1748–1887 (with James Kippen, Allyn Miner, Margaret E Walker, and Richard D Williams); and Histories of the Ephemeral: Writing on Music in Late Mughal India.