Hans Jacob Orning on 'Ekko': Women in the Middle Ages
In an appearance on the NRK show Ekko, Hans Jacob Orning, professor of history at the University of Oslo and CAS Oslo research group leader, discusses whether historians have traditionally overlooked stories about women in the Middle Ages.
Orning, who this academic year is leading the CAS Oslo research project 'The Nordic 'Civil Wars' in the High Middle Ages in a Comparative Perspective,' appeared on Ekko on 7 October 2017 along with author Solveig Aareskjold. Her new book, Astridene: Kvinnene kring Olav Tryggvason, explores the stories of three women -- all named Astrid -- and their impact on the titular Norwegian king.
On this episode of Ekko, Aareskjold argues that the field of medieval history has rendered women 'invisible,' as historians have traditionally been more interested in researching kings and warriors -- in other words, men.
Orning agrees -- at least in part. Historians looking at how modern Norway emerged from the Middle Ages have focused on kings, wars, and societal structures, he says, which in that time included many men. But new scholarly perspectives on medieval history -- anthropological and postmodernist, for example -- have helped unearth stories about the women of the Middle Ages, he says.
'We always need new contributions to academe,' Orning says. History is still a male-dominated field, he says, 'but a lot has happened since history only concerned kings and wars and men.'
The full episode of Ekko, in Norwegian, is available here.
Carl Fredrik Schou Straumsheim