Submissions:2021/"So Many Books, So Little Time": Wikipedia as Odd Literature

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2021.


"So Many Books, So Little Time": Wikipedia as Odd Literature


Global & Local, Inclusion & Diversity, Other

Type of session:



As a long-time Wikipedian (Username:Figureskatingfan), much of the editing I’ve done on Wikipedia has been about obscure and underrepresented topics and bios (the life and work of African American poet and writer Maya Angelou, children's television programming and media, figure skating, and female saints). As an M.A. graduate student in English at the University of Idaho, I took a course in Spring 2021 about Odd Literature during the 19th century, a "genre" of literature created by my mentor, Dr. Zachary Turpin. Odd lit, loosely defined, is literature that doesn’t seem to fit in any genre, literary movement, or period, or even within literature as a category. I make the case in this presentation that Wikipedia can be considered a 21st version of odd lit, and that odd lit has direct applications to the work we editors do, especially the attempts of Wikiprojects such as Women in Red and 1000 Women in Religion, to mitigate the gender gap and systemic bias on Wikipedia. This presentation will define odd literature, explain the connection between odd lit and Wikipedia, and how the use of odd lit can help us leverage the Wikipedia policies that seem to limit content about obscure topics, female-dominated topics, and bios about women on Wikipedia. I will also report on my experience and provide tips and about how to research obscure topics using sources that can be difficult to locate due to their status as odd lit.

Academic Peer Review option:


Author name:

Christine Meyer

E-mail address:

Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

Estimated time:

15-30 minutes

Special requests:

Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:

Yes, at my local Toastmasters club

If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)

Yes, at either a lightning talk or unconference session.