The Bhutan-Wiki Project: Global knowledge and minority languages

Thursday September 17, 3pm – 4.30pm

Online via Zoom, RSVP via Eventbrite to receive Meeting ID and password

The growing influence of English Wikipedia has created powerful new gatekeepers and publishing practices that determine not only what constitutes knowledge in the online world, but whose knowledge is privileged. Research shows the different ways that the structural inequalities of the offline world are being reproduced online, creating new sites for colonisation. However, the smaller language Wikipedias offer a bulwark for cultural resilience. The platform has multi-media capabilities, which can be utilized by oral cultures in ways not possible before Web 2.0 technologies. as well as providing asynchronous online meeting places for geographically disparate communities to participate in their national imaginings. This paper presents preliminary work on a three-year, Australian Research Council-funded action research project that will investigate the experiences of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan with English and Dzongkha Wikipedias as a case study to consider 1) some of the impacts of English Wikipedia on global knowledge equity and 2) the potential for minority language Wikipedias to provide a cultural counterpoint.

Dr Bunty Avieson is an author, journalist and academic, who teaches in the Department of Media and Communications at University of Sydney. Her research interests include the media in Bhutan, literary journalism and Wikipedia Studies. These threads are brought together in this DECRA project, awarded in 2019.