This project examines the online politics of representation surrounding Tibetan modernity in contemporary China. Using cultural and media studies methodologies and conceptual frameworks, it seeks to analyse the ways in which the Chinese state harnesses the speed, scope, and scale of new media to communicate ideas about Tibetan modernity, and how Tibetans engage these new media technologies to produce counter discourses and attempt to generate new understandings about life in contemporary Tibet among Chinese audiences. In doing so, this project aims to promote new insights into the production of state power over Tibet and online media practices in China.
Representations of Tibet have always been carefully managed across diverse cultural fields under Communist rule. Current representational practices surrounding Tibetan modernity are entangled with questions of state-led development and have also become an increasingly online affair. The advances and popularization of digital media technologies have expanded possibilities for the state to advance discourses about Tibetan modernity in order to consolidate Chinese power over Tibet. However, these new technologies have also provided Tibetans new platforms for constructing and disseminating counter discourses. With this has come a new opportunity for Tibetans to challenge official discourses and promote an alternative vision of Tibetan modernity to Chinese audiences.