'Obituary, gender and posthumous fame: the New York Times Overlooked Project'

Charlotte Boyce, Danielle Dove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the New York Times’ ‘Overlooked’ project, an online memorialising enterprise dedicated to providing ‘forgotten’ celebrities (mostly women) with retrospective obituaries. Launched on International Women’s Day 2018 with the aim of addressing the gendered and racialised inequalities inherent in obituary selection, the project attempts to rectify the NYT’s omission of notable figures from its obits section. Focusing on two case studies from the first cohort of these belated obits – Charlotte Brontë and Ida B. Wells-Barnett – this article examines how the retrospective nature of the project affects the
structure, content and function of the celebrity obituary. Considering the issues at stake in remembering and reframing ‘overlooked’ lives from the past, it questions whether focusing on historically overlooked celebrities works to redress social injustice and increase diversity of representation in the present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-523
Number of pages27
JournalCelebrity Studies
Issue number4
Early online date18 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2022


  • celebrity
  • Charlotte Brontë
  • commemoration
  • death
  • Ida B. Wells-Barnett
  • inequality
  • news media
  • race


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