Decolonizing Data, One Language at a Time

At a time of growing anxiety about the ubiquity of digital technologies, the idea that we are witnessing the age of digital and data colonialism is gaining traction. In recent years, scholars and activists have increasingly relied on the notion of coloniality to understand the social impact of data-centric technologies, discuss their harms, and imagine liberating and empowering alternatives.

Central to this area of research, design, and advocacy is the question of languages. In March 2022, the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University and the Tierra Común network held a virtual conversation with speakers bringing various perspectives and insights to the topic. Together, they discussed why we need to address language gaps in our digital ecosystem and how community-led projects around the world seek to respond to these challenges.

This booklet – co-produced by DCSL and Tierra Común – synthesizes this discussion. Released simultaneously in English, Spanish, and Kiswahili this is the first multilingual publication of DCSL.