I’m delivering a paper at the War Through Other Stuff (WTOS) conference at the University of Edinburgh on the 22nd February. WTOS is an interdisciplinary conference focusing on ‘alternative histories of conflict’. As opposed to looking at war in the traditional, military-historical sense, the papers being presented are focused on the ‘other stuff’ of conflict, a whole swathe of topics from ‘the impact of conflict on cultural and social life’, to the role of non-combatants in conflict. My paper explores the evidence for peace-making women in medieval Icelandic feud. While more literary minded scholars such as Jóhanna Friðriksdóttir have already stated the claim of the pacific woman in medieval Icelandic society, such arguments are premised on an approach to the Icelandic sagas as literary works. Due to the fact that I hold to Mikhail Steblin-Kamenskij’s theory on the nature of the sagas (i.e. that they were considered as “true” records of the past under the definition of truth held to by those writing them) meaning that I do not agree with the methodology of the literary scholar with reference to these texts. Over the course of my paper, I show that it is possible to make the case for the peace-making woman in medieval Iceland while considering the sagas as “true”, rather than fitting them into the ill-fitting modern category of literature.
MA Medieval Studies