About the Icelandic Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

The Icelandic Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (in Icelandic: Félag um átjándu aldar fræði) was founded in 1994. The aim of the society is to promote and publicize research within the field of eighteenth-century studies and related subjects, both in Iceland and abroad. Its membership is now about 190. The website of the society is: www.akademia.is/18.oldin. Some material in English concerning its activities is available on its website (the relevant link is “Information in English”).

The society was admitted as a member of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in 1995. Icelandic scholars organized sessions and gave papers at the tenth and the eleventh International Congress on the Enlightenment, in Dublin and Los Angeles, respectively.

The society co-operates with sister societies in the other Nordic countries. On 15–16 June 2002 it held a Nordic congress in Reykjavík on „the Nordic countries and Europe 1700–1830: points of view on mutual cultural influences“. Eleven papers given at the congress (seven in English, two in Danish, two in Swedish; those in Danish and Swedish have abstracts either in English or French) by scholars from Iceland, Sweden, Finland and the Faroe Islands were published in a volume of proceedings, Norden och Europa 1700–1830: Synvinklar på ömsesidigt kulturellt inflytande ..., edited by Svavar Sigmundsson, Reykjavík 2003. The volume can be ordered on the website www.haskolautgafan.hi.is; the price is USD 30 (paperback).

In continuation of the congress in Reykjavík in 2002, the Swedish society for eighteenth-century studies, Sällskapet för 1700-talsstudier, will hold a Nordic congress in Gothenburg on 11–13 August 2006, on channels of knowledge, in Swedish: „kunskapens vägar“.

The society usually arranges three symposia per year, in February, April and November. In accordance with the interdisciplinary nature of the societies for eighteenth-century studies, the subject matter of the thirty or so symposia that the society has held since its foundation has covered a very large field. The symposia are held on Saturday afternoons. Their basic format is as follows: Four or five papers are given. The delivery of each paper takes about 20 minutes. After each paper up to 10 minutes are allowed for discussion. The society places emphasis on the papers being written and presented in such a way that they are easy to follow for the general public, while at the same time maintaining a high scholarly standard. The society also asks lecturers to use visual means in the presentations of the papers. Abstracts of all the papers, no longer than one page each, are distributed to the audience at the beginning of each symposium. Most of these abstracts have subsequently been made available on the website of the society.

Apart from sending messages concerning the symposia of the society to its members, information about them is sent to the mass media in Reykjavík. The media have shown much interest in the symposia. Just before they take place, the media sometimes publish or broadcast interviews with a lecturer or a member of the board of the society relating to the subject matter of the symposium in question. All the symposia of the society are open to the general public, free of charge. They have been well attended. The society held, for instance, three symposia in the year 2005, each of which was attended by more than 100 people.

Many of those who have attended the symposia in the course of time are not specialists in any field of eighteenth-century studies. A number of these people have joined the society.

In early summer every year, usually in the first half of June, the society organizes a full-day excursion to a region in Iceland which has important connections with the eighteenth century.

The society arranges every other year a tour abroad, during which sites of historical significance are visited and which take about a week. The first tour of this kind was of Scotland (with a base in Edinburgh) last summer. The next one will be of Paris and the surrounding area in July 2007, immediately after the Twelfth International Enlightenment Congress in Montpellier.

The society publishes an electronic journal which has the title Vefnir. Tímarit Félags um átjándu aldar fræði. Its website is: http://fraedi.is/18.oldin/vefnir.

Vefnir publishes articles on all aspects of eighteenth-century studies and related subjects (it basically covers the period c. 1650 to c. 1850). Most of those published to date are based on papers given at the symposia of the society, but articles which do not stem from the symposia are equally welcomed. The articles are peer-reviewed. All articles published as from the beginning of the year 2006 will have abstracts in English.

There is no fixed number of issues per year, but articles are published when their editing is finished.

The editor is Bragi Þ. Ólafsson (bragio[at]bok.hi.is) and Ragnhildur Bragadóttir (ragnhildur.bragadottir[at]kirkjan.is). Articles should be sent to either of them.

Enquiries concerning the society can be sent either to its President, (ragnhildur.bragadottir[at]kirkjan.is), or its Secretary, Ólöf Garðarsdóttir (Olof.Gardarsdottir[at]hagstofa.is). It is also possible to write to the society on its website.