Pramantha Tagore

Pramantha Tagore
Cohort Year: 2023
Research Interests: Cultural and Social History of Modern South Asia c. 1800-1950; Traditions of Raga Music in Bengal and North India; Caste, Class, and Identity Politics; Translation and Transmission; Modernity and the Global History of Music.
Education: M. Phil and M.A, Department of English, Jadavpur University


Pramantha Tagore’s research and scholarship explore the interplay between music, race, and cultural politics in the long nineteenth century. A prominent emphasis of his work has been on the historical practices of music-making in modern South Asia, in particular, colonial Bengal, and how these practices help shape cultural identities. He is presently a Neubauer Family Foundation Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Music, and holds simultaneous positions as Honorary Fellow and Associate Director of the Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies International (CNCSI) based at Durham University and the International Nineteenth Century Studies Association (INCSA). He is also a Ralph Nicholas South Asia Fellow at the University of Chicago’s International House, and a 2023-24 Elinor Ostrom Fellow at the Mercatus Centre at George Mason University. His previous appointment at the University of Chicago was supported through a generous grant from the Fulbright Foundation via a Nehru-Fulbright Visiting Doctoral Fellowship.

On the musical side, Pramantha is a professional Sarod player trained in the Maihar-Senia style of Hindustani Music. For over two decades, he has received instruction on the Sarod, vocal music, and other instruments from renowned teachers in India through the guru-shishya parampara (master-disciple) system. As a musician, educator, and performer, he has collaborated with artists and ensembles spread across a wide array of genres and music practices, including those from South Asia, Indonesia, the United States, the Middle East, and Australia. Examples of his collaborations include those with the International Academy of Musical Arts (IAMS), the Australian Red Cross, Creative Victoria, Chicago Mehfil, and the Consolato Generale d’Italia, to name a few. He is also empaneled with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and is an affiliated artiste with All India Radio, the national broadcasting service of India.

Pramantha’s recent publications include “Songs for the Empress: Queen Victoria in the Music History of Colonial Bengal,” Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge: Forthcoming); “Pure or Tainted: Representing a Source of Colonial Bengali-English Music in RISM,” Fontis Artis Musicae, 69:3, 229–251 (with Christina Linklater and Emerson Morgan); “Listening Through the Walls: Music-making in the Historic Houses of Rabindranath Tagore,” in Sound Heritage: Making Music Matter in Historic Houses, eds. Jeanice Brooks, Matthew Stephens, Wiebke Thormählen (Routledge, 2021); “From the Private to the Public: Hindustani Raga Music in Colonial Calcutta. 1800-1945,” in Kolkata in Space, Time and Imagination Vol. II, eds. Melitta Waligora and Anuradha Roy (Primus 2020); “The Cultural Evolution of Performance: Representing Shakespeare Through Jazz,” International Journal of Cultural Studies and Social Sciences, 3:6, 144–160. Highlights of his ongoing research have been presented at conferences and invited talks organized by the Society for Ethnomusicology, Fulbright Research Speakers Series, The Bhawanipur Education Society College, Archive of North Indian Classical Music (ANICM, Jadavpur), Nineteenth Century Studies Research Unit (Monash University), and the International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance (ICTM).