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.