The Rewriting Wikipedia Project

Why Rewrite Wikipedia?

by Adeline Koh and Roopika Risam


Ever been disappointed by the level of Wikipedia coverage on the world outside of Europe and the United States? Our website, Postcolonial Digital Humanities, supports and advocates for efforts to add entries and posts to Wikipedia that focus on postcolonial studies as well as ethnic/minority and marginalized peoples. We participated in the #tooFEW Feminists Engage Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon in March 2013 and have committed to pursuing a connected project on adding material and entries on people of color around the world through our website.

We argue that editing Wikipedia is one of the most important projects for postcolonial writers and activists because it is now the most commonly referenced encyclopedia. People around the world go to Wikipedia first for information. As a result, Wikipedia wields a tremendous amount of power in creating knowledge for the world. Yet, because Wikipedia is a crowdsourced project, editable by anyone, it represents a tremendous opportunity for postcolonial studies to help to shape this global knowledge.

Moreover, we contend that knowledge produced on Wikipedia is primarily conservative. As a result, introducing more postcolonial studies-informed work into Wikipedia is essential because:

Thus, Postcolonial Digital Humanists have an obligation to engage with Wikipedia editing. Postcolonial studies has prided itself on challenging paradigms that  perpetuate social inequality in terms of “who” and “what” is worthy of representation. Through Wikipedia editing, Postcolonial Digital Humanists have the opportunity to intervene in what postcolonial studies critics have termed colonial paradigms of knowledge production and imperialist hierarchies of information.

So go edit Wikipedia, and try and get your friends and students involved!

And check out our help pages below:

**Wikipedia image remixed from original image from Octavio Rojas on Flickr.

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