Episode 10 — Epistemic Justice, Decolonisation, and Solidarity

This week on Resist and Reboot, we talk to Anasuya Sengupta, the Co-Director and co-founder of Whose Knowledge?. She has led initiatives in India and the USA, across the global South, and internationally for over 20 years, to amplify marginalised voices in virtual and physical worlds.

Anasuya discusses the genesis of Whose Knowledge ? as a project, and campaign that aimed to center knowledge of the world’s marginalised communities (the minoritised majority) away from conversations that are currently driven and dominated by Silicon Valley. Through projects such as Decolonising the Internet, resources like Our Stories, Our Knowledge and a fund called Numun Fund, Anasuya discusses the importance of acknowledging the power dynamics that underlie the internet as a space, and the need to be able to reimagine and rebuild it as an epistemically just space.

Anasuya argues how we need a decolonisation process that moves beyond being a metaphor to something that is materialised through building solidarity and trust. This can be achieved by centering practice, as a method wherein one acknowledges that we are not single-issue people, and that it is important to embrace the intersectional experiences that people have. Doing so will require connecting to the embodied experiences that people have, and also pluralising our ways of seeing, doing, and being.

About the project

Places and populations that were previously digitally invisible are now part of a ‘data revolution’ that is being hailed as a transformative tool for human and economic development. Yet this unprecedented expansion of the power to digitally monitor, sort, and intervene is not well connected to the idea of social justice, nor is there a clear concept of how broader access to the benefits of data technologies can be achieved without amplifying misrepresentation, discrimination, and power asymmetries.

We therefore need a new framework for data justice integrating data privacy, non-discrimination, and non-use of data technologies into the same framework as positive freedoms such as representation and access to data. This project will research the lived experience of data technologies in high- and low-income countries worldwide, seeking to understand people’s basic needs with regard to these technologies. We will also seek the perspectives of civil society organisations, technology companies, and policymakers.