ZOiS: Centre for East European and International Studies

  • Emma Moreton (Visiting researcher)

Activity: Visiting an external institutionVisiting an external academic institution


In August 2018 I received Erasmus staff mobility funding to work with Dr Felix Krawatzek (ZOiS) on a German and Irish migrant letters project.
For this project we are interested in some of the methodological challenges encountered in analysing what might be described as ‘big data’. Currently, the sourcing of migrant letter collections is growing, and whilst their value as historical socio-cultural artefacts is generally accepted, finding the best means to exploit such resources is an on-going challenge. Computational methods that have been developed to explore ‘big data’ oftentimes turn out to be too coarse to do justice to the idiosyncratic nature of migrant letters. Whilst clustering or topic modelling approaches can be employed to understand the rough content of a corpus, they remain limited in how far they can actually contribute to the more fine-grained questions coming from migration scholarship. Our project aims to compare the integration experiences contained in two of the largest historical collections of migrant letters existing today, those of Irish and German migrants in the US during the 19th and 20th century.
Period8 Sept 201821 Sept 2018
VisitingZOiS: Centre for East European and International Studies
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • corpus linguistics
  • topic modelling
  • migration history
  • historical migrant letters