Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Ayesha Sheth

PhD Candidate


M.Music (Ethnomusicology), King's College London, London. 2015

B.A. History (Hons.), St. Stephen's College, Delhi. 2014




I am a doctoral candidate at the Department of South Asia Studies. I am broadly interested in music and musical practices, across genres and regions, of South Asia. My dissertation, tentatively titled A Political History of Music: North India between 1428-1605, studies the relationship between knowledge and political power through an analysis of developments in musicological theory and practice against the rise of new aspirants to political life in North India between the fourteenth-sixteenth centuries. I draw on a wide archive - literature, music texts, histories, dictionaries, religious (Sufi and Bhakti) literature, and paintings - in both Sanskrit and Persian.

Research Interests

Ethnomusicology, Cultural History, Pre-modern South Asia, Persian and Sanskrit musicological literature, Raga histories, Courtly Culture.

Languages:  Sanskrit, Persian, Hindi, Gujarati. 

Courses Taught


Fall 2022: SAST 0008-001/HIST 0851001/RELS 0008001 India Culture and Society.


Teaching Assistant

Fall 2019: SAST 004-401 India’s Literature

Spring 2019: SAST 006-401 Hindu Mythology

Fall 2018: SAST 001-401 Introduction to Modern South Asia