Crafting the Historical Narrative of Modern India and Its Future

Dr David Gilmartin1, Dr. Hussain Ahmad Khan2, Dr. Anand A Yang3, Dr. Jim Masselos4, Dr. Sandria B Freitag1

1North Carolina State University,  United States, 2Government College Univ, Lahore,  Pakistan, 3University of Washington,  United States, 4SOPH, University of Sydney, Australia

Chair: Dr. Sandria B Freitag


Historians ask questions of the past prompted by challenges of the present.  Can this approach be used to explore the future?  Using crafts innovation and preservation – as these have intersected with livelihood – the panel’s case studies look through this window at the larger historical patterns characterizing the past, present, and potentially the future.  These craft case studies populate an arena second only to agriculture in terms of employment, and dominant in the informal sector, which itself constitutes almost half India’s economy.

From studies that track Punjabi artisans’ resistance to British understandings of ‘craft’, and the innovative imperial introduction of carpet production as a form of ‘work’ in jails, to independent entrepreneurial creation of matchboxes (and fireworks packaging, leading to poster/calendar art) and its consumption/collection, ** our collective analyses culminate in examination of the changing relationship among state, market and society at the intersection of livelihood and preservation of traditional art forms.  That these changes stand out dramatically in today’s developments draws our attention to the importance of past precedents for future possibilities.



The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.

Photo Credits: Visit Victoria

© 2019 Conference Design Pty Ltd