Mapping Germanness in early 20th century USA : topic modeling and GIS within a small corpus framework


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Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


The increased emphasis on language and ethnicity among German immigrants in the USA at the beginning of the 20th century resulted from inter-ethnic competition as well as assimilation pressures on Germans as a minority in American society. Following the unification of Germany and the improvement of German international status, Germans in America claimed superiority of German culture; middle-class advocates attempted to build a more united German-American community, fighting for a stronger voice on issues such as prohibition and German language education. These processes eventually led to the establishment of the National German-American Alliance in Philadelphia in 1901. The present article employs topic modeling and GIS techniques to examine the little-known conference proceedings of the Alliance and discuss Prince Heinrich “Henry” of Prussia’s 1902 visit to the USA. On the humanities side, we foreground the dynamics of the German diaspora who sought their own ethnic uniqueness and constructed historical memory during this period. On the digital side, we discuss different statistical evaluations of topic models as well as their applicability within a small corpus research framework.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-445
Number of pages16
JournalDigital Scholarship in the Humanities
Issue number1
Early online date10 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024

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  • German-Americans
  • Germanness
  • GIS
  • National German-American alliance
  • topic modeling


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