Landnám kynjasögunnar á Íslandi
Árið 2000 var 38. árgangur Sögu tileinkaður úttekt á íslenskri sagnfræði við aldamót. Ritstjórar fengu 11 höfunda til að skrifa um ákveðin tímabil eða þemu Íslandssögunnar og hvernig hefði verið fjallað um þau í íslenskri sagnaritun. Ein af þessum greinum fjallaði um landnám kvennasögunnar og var hún sú fyrsta sem fjallaði skipulega um þessa undirgrein sagnfræðinnar. Í tilefni af 20 ára afmæli þessara skrifa er hér þráður inn tekinn upp að nýju en öðru landnámi, landnámi kynjasögunnar, skipað í öndvegi. Þó svo að kynjasagan sé skilgetið afkvæmi kvennasögunnar er mikilvægur munur á þessum tveimur greinum. Hér verður skoðað hvernig kynjasögulegu sjónarhorni hefur verið beitt innan íslenskrar sagnfræði og hvernig kvennasaga hefur þróast á Íslandi með tilliti til áskorana kynjasögulegra kenninga.
The 38th volume of Saga, which was published in the year 2000, was dedicated to the state of Icelandic history at the turn of the century. The volume contained an article by Margrét Guðmundsdóttir which was titled “The arrival of women’s history in Iceland” and was the first attempt to produce an Icelandic feminist historiography. Margrét’s article traces the development of women’s history in Iceland from the early 1980s to the year 2000. The article was a valuable contribution to the growing field of women’s history in Iceland but one of its shortcomings was its neglect of the emergence and impact of gender history. On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of “The arrival of women’s history in Iceland,” this article shines a spotlight on the arrival of gender history and its development since the year 2000. Gender history was first introduced to Icelandic audiences through the works of medieval historians. In a 1991 article in Ný Saga, Agnes S. Arnórsdóttir introduced the concept of gender as a feasible category for historical analysis. Four years later, she published the monograph Konur og vígamenn (Women and Warriors), where she analysed gender roles in twelfth and thirteenth century Iceland. Up until the early 2000s, research on gendered aspects of modernisation in Iceland was rare, but from 2004 onwards research centred around nineteenth and twentieth century history has flourished. That year, Sigríður Matthíasdóttir published her monograph Hinn sanni Íslendingur. Þjóðerni, kyngervi og vald á Íslandi1 900‒1930 (The True Icelander. Nationality, Gender and Power in Iceland 1900‒1930), where she scrutinised the intersection of nationalism and gender during Iceland’s struggle for independence. Political milestones such as the women’s movement and the suffrage movement were a direct or indirect topic of many historians concerned with nineteenth and twentieth century gender history. Topics such as the history of sexualities, queer history and migration history have also surfaced, which shows the rich and varied applicability of gender theories in historical analysis. The article also examines discussions about the role and legitimacy of gender history. Such discussions have mainly surfaced around political anniversaries and publications meant to celebrate such anniversaries. The article analyses discussions about two publications that came out in the year 2000. One is Saga Íslands á 20. öld (Iceland in the 20th Century) by Helgi Skúli Kjartansson, which was criticized for failing to integrate women’s history into the general narrative, choosing instead to present a separate chapter on women. The second publication, a massive four-volume book on the one thousand year history of Christianity in Iceland, received mixed reviews. While some critics celebrated the publication for its objective point of view, others saw it as a missed chance for analysing the church as a major pillar of patriarchal hegemony in Iceland. Anniversaries are also a good opportunity for reflection. In the article, the 200th birthday of Jón Sigurðsson, Iceland’s independence hero, serves as an observation point. In 2011, several biographies were published to mark his 200th birthday. While historians used this opportunity to reflect critically upon Jón’s image and legacy, laypeople and politicians stuck to the traditional imagery of Jón and even expressed vehement criticism of historians who pointed out how the image of Jón is glorified through masculine hegemony. Such debates and discussions show how the aims and premises of women’s history—to establish women as active participants in mainstream history—remain a legitimate concern. Debates about gender history as a backlash to the political aims of women’s history did not take place in Iceland. Most Icelandic historians who have applied the category of gender as an analytical tool do so because they believe it to be a crucial means of dismantling the historical marginalization of women.