Research topic: Gender studies
The modern field of history – based on a systematic and critical approach to sources and method – developed during the 19th century. The field at that time was dominated by research into major political events and into the small number of people who played major roles in this type of political history – who almost without exception were male.
Subsequently historians have widened dramatically both their areas of interest and the range of people studied. Nowadays history is not only about a few individuals – or only about men. Inspired by feminism, women's history was established within the field during the 1960s and 1970s. The initial and immediate ambition was to make women's presence visible throughout history, but this also had significant consequences for the researchers' analytical methods and key concepts: their insistence that historians could not write about work as though this only consisted of paid work – and accordingly to all intents and purposes only work carried out by men – led for example to new ways of defining work and, as a result, economic matters in general.
In turn this was an example of the "genderisation" of language and concepts. In other words, these contained implicit notions about the relationship between the sexes – ideas that in turn contributed to maintaining the status quo. As a result women's history quickly took on a critical and awareness-raising function, and the fundamental reflections embodied in the field also caused it to evolve into a more general, theoretically ambitious history of gender, which examined gender as a historical category.