Richard Williams
Junior Research Fellow in History and Oriental Studies


I am a cultural historian of early modern and colonial South Asia, with a particular interest in theology, north Indian literatures, and music. My first degree was in Theology, here at Trinity, followed by an MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies at Wolfson College, Oxford. I then moved to London and completed a PhD in Cultural History in the Music Department, King’s College London. I returned to Oxford in 2015 as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Faculty of Oriental Studies and as a Junior Research Fellow at Trinity.


At Trinity I provide tutorial teaching in Theology on different subjects relating to the ‘History of Religions’, and ‘Religion and Religions’. I also offer teaching in Modern History on topics relating to colonialism and South Asia.


In my current project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, I am investigating multilingual networks of intellectuals in eighteenth-century South Asia. In particular, I am interested in religious scholars, musicologists, and court poets who circulated between upper India, eastern Bengal, and Nepal. My primary archive is in Brajbhasha (old Hindi), Bengali, Urdu, and Maithili, though I also draw to some extent on sources in Sanskrit and Persian.

In 2011-2015 I was a team member of the ERC-funded project Musical Transitions to European Colonialism in the eastern Indian Ocean, based at King’s College London. Against this background, I continue to research the social and intellectual history of Hindustani music under colonialism.