Teamwork may not be typical for historians, but it has become second nature to James Oberly, Annemarie Steidl, and Wladimir Fischer as they collaborate to conduct their team research project, "Understanding the Migration Experience: The Austrian-American Connection, 1870-1914."
This project is a collaboration between CAS, the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC), and the Minnesota Population Center (MPC) at the University of Minnesota; the Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Vienna; and the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies at the University of Alberta. Their research project is working to examine the social patterns of mass migration both within Austrian and Central Europe and between Central Europe and North America in the period between 1870 and World War I, comparing and contrasting the two.
Each of the researchers brings a unique perspective to the project, which is why the teamwork for this project seemed ideal. Steidl is a demographic historian and is familiar with the census data for the Monarchy from Austria and Hungary. Oberly has done much work with statistical packages and US census data. Fischer is a cultural historian and will be bringing the expertise of comparing archival items - newspapers, diaries, photographs - between Central European and American materials.
In 2008, the Dietrich W. Botstieber Foundation awarded a grant to the Center for Austrian Studies to organize this transatlantic research project. Since then, these three researchers have all expressed much excitement about being together in Minnesota, with the wealth of immigration and migration resources the state has to offer. Fischer said, "But, of course ...it's not just the material, it's the knowledgeable archivists and scholars that make a visit to Minnesota so valuable." In 2011-12, after eighteen months of teamwork, they will enter the final and perhaps most difficult stage: jointly authoring a book on the migration experience, to be published by the end of 2012.
For further information: Center for Austrian Studies