Saarthak SINGH

Saarthak Singh

PhD student in art history at New York University and visiting doctoral researcher at the EPHE.


I am an art historian of premodern South Asia, currently completing a PhD thesis at New York University under the supervision of Finbarr Barry Flood. Titled “Places of Piety, Sites of Sovereignty: Temple and Mosque in Medieval Malwa, ca. 1050-1450”, this study presents the first systematic analysis of the architecture, epigraphy and landscape at the medieval town of Udaypur in Madhya Pradesh. I began my studies in art history at the University of St Andrews, writing a thesis on multi-headed Viṣṇu statues of the Pāñcarātra tradition from early-medieval Kashmir that received the best undergraduate dissertation prize by the Association of Art Historians in 2015. I trained in Sanskrit, Persian and old Hindi during my masters at SOAS, University of London, integrating textual and visual materials in a memoire on the north Indian city-state of Gwalior. My interdisciplinary approach is illustrated by an article reconstructing performances held at a rare surviving amphitheatre (akhārā) from late-15th century Gwalior as part of broader cultural practices of evening entertainments, hunting and military campaigns among princely elite of the provinces. I have also collaborated with colleagues on various projects, most recently with Françoise ‘Nalini’ Delvoye in a seminar on the cultural history of Gwalior and with Johan Levillain in an article for Arts Asiatiques on the large-scale production of temple statuary by a local workshop in 11th-century Malwa.

Fields of research and research projects

My research concerns the connected histories of the Indic and Islamic worlds, especially as they unfolded in the architectural landscape of northern India during the medieval period. In addition, and more broadly, my research interests comprise:

  • South Asian art and architecture
  • Indian and Islamic epigraphy
  • Medieval fortification and urbanism
  • Performance practices
  • Material cultures of pilgrimage
  • Constructions of difference in premodern times

HAL & Academia profiles