The labor of making: Crafting ceramics in Medieval South India

Author(s): Mannat Johal

Year: 2021


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Historical Archaeology in South Asia" , at the 2021 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

This paper explores the question of labor in the study of crafted objects from archaeological contexts. Working with an assemblage of excavated ceramics from a Medieval (12th-14th century CE) settlement at Maski (northern Karnataka), it problematizes the categories proposed by the political-economy oriented framework of “craft production studies” prevalent in archaeological research on the Indian Subcontinent. Several scholars have addressed crucial gaps in the political economy of craft production, drawing on the “new materialisms” and Bourdieu’s “practice theory” to highlight themes of intergenerational learning, embodied action and the interplay of human and nonhuman agentive forces in craftwork. Drawing upon yet departing from these studies, this paper is an attempt to elaborate a concept of labor that takes into account practices of production, the physical traces of these practices as deduced from the study of archaeological artefacts, and the world-making potentials of the labor of transforming raw materials into durable products.

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The labor of making: Crafting ceramics in Medieval South India. Mannat Johal. 2021 ( tDAR id: 459291)

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Geographic Keywords
South Asia

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology