Richard David Williams is a Leverhulme Early Career in the Faculty of Oriental Studies and a non-stipendiary Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Oxford.
A cultural historian of Mughal and colonial India, Richard is currently exploring multilingual networks of eighteenth-century intellectuals, working through a broad archive of texts written in Brajbhasha (old Hindi), Bengali, Urdu, and Maithili. The project examines poets, musicologists, and performers who circulated between Rajasthan and Bengal, drawing particular attention to the work of female poets, and the importance of minor courts to cultural production during the disintegration of the Mughal empire.
Richard studied Theology at Oxford as an undergraduate, followed by the MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies. He then moved to King’s College London to undertake doctoral research as part of the ERC-funded project, Musical Transitions to Colonialism in the eastern Indian Ocean. His PhD (2015) examined the intellectual and social history of Hindustani music in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, centred around a revisionist study of the last king of Lucknow, Wajid ‘Ali Shah (1822-1887).
Richard sits on the steering committee of the Gender and Authority Network, and is co-convenor of the Gender, Women, and Culture Seminar in the History Faculty.