Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Ramya Sreenivasan

Associate Professor, Interim Department Chair

809 Williams Hall


Ph.D., Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Research Interests

My principal interests lie in the social history of northern India (i.e. the greater Hindi - Hindustani belt) in the second millennium. I focus on histories of the household, trajectories of caste- and community- formation, and the making and unmaking of polities over the longue duree.   

I have published on resonant retellings of heroic legends (of northern and western India) in changing historical contexts. I have also published research articles on diverse subjects, including hinterland courts, slavery, kingship, and religious conversions among warrior groups.  

Current projects include :

a monograph on elite households and polity-making (1300 — 1800), using sources in Marwari, Braj, Avadhi, Urdu, Hindi, and Persian; 

The Oxford Handbook of the Mughal World (co-edited with Richard Eaton); 

and an entirely new, bicentenary edition of James Tod’s Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (1829 - 1832) — the foundational English-language work for the study of western India (co-edited with Norbert Peabody), to be published by Yale University Press for the Royal Asiatic Society . 

Selected Publications


The Many Lives of a Rajput Queen: Heroic Pasts in Indian History c. 1500-1900. Permanent Black (New Delhi) and University of Washington Press, 2007.


Selected articles

“Kingship and Authority Reconsidered: Amber (Rajasthan), circa 1560 – 1615.” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 57 (2014): 549 – 586.

“Warrior-Tales at Hinterland Courts in North India, c. 1370 – 1550,” in Francesca Orsini and Samira Sheikh eds. After Timur Left: Culture and Circulation in Fifteenth-Century North India, Oxford University Press, 2014.

“Faith and Allegiance in Mughal India: Perspectives from Rajasthan,” in Vasudha Dalmia and Munis D. Faruqui eds. Religious Interactions in Mughal India, Oxford University Press, 2014.

"Drudges, Dancing-girls, Concubines: Female Slaves in Rajput Polity, 1500-1850". In Indrani Chatterjee and Richard Eaton, eds.Slavery and South Asian History, Indiana University Press, 2006.

"Honoring the family: narratives and politics of Rajput kinship in pre-modern Rajasthan."  In Indrani Chatterjee, ed. Unfamiliar Relations: Family and History in South Asia.   Permanent Black (New Delhi) and Rutgers University Press, 2004.


Other writing

“A South Asianist’s Response to Victor Lieberman’s Strange Parallels,”  Journal of Asian Studies, 70, 4 (November 2011): 983–93. Invited by the Editor of the JAS.

“Palace Life.” In Anna Jackson and Amin Jaffer, eds. Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts.  Victoria and Albert Museum (London), 2009.

“Sati.” Encyclopedia of Women in World History.  General Editor Bonnie Smith. Oxford University Press, 2008, vol. 3, pp. 639-640