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Michelle Caswell

Michelle Caswell, Professor in the Department of Information Studies
Michelle Caswell

SE&IS 214
300 North Charles E. Young Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1520

Michelle Caswell

Michelle Caswell, Ph.D., is a Professor of Archival Studies in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Caswell directs a team of students at UCLA’s Community Archives Lab, which explores the ways that independent, identity-based memory organizations document, shape, and provide access to the histories of minoritized communities with a particular emphasis on understanding their affective, political, and artistic impact. In 2008, together with Samip Mallick, Caswell co-founded the South Asian American Digital Archive, an online repository that documents and provides access to the stories of South Asian Americans. She is the author of the books, Urgent Archives: Enacting Liberatory Memory Work (Routledge Press, 2021) and Archiving the Unspeakable: Silence, Memory and the Photographic Record in Cambodia (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014), as well as more than 40 peer-reviewed articles in critical archival studies.

Teaching and Research Interests
Research Center


  • University of Wisconsin--Madison, Madison, WI.
    PhD, School of Library and Information Studies, May 2012.
  • University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI.
    Master of Library and Information Science, August 2008.
    Concentration: Archival Administration.
  • Harvard Divinity School of Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
    Master of Theological Studies in World Religions (South Asia), June 1999.
  • Columbia College of Columbia University, New York, NY.
    Bachelors of Arts in Religion, May 1997.


  • Professor, Department of Information Studies
  • Affiliated Faculty, Asian American Studies

Awards, Honors, and Fellowships

  • 2020, Hugh A. Taylor Prize for best paper published in Archivaria, for Gracen Brilmyer, Joyce Gabiola, Jimmy Zavala, and Michelle Caswell, “Reciprocal Archival Imaginaries: The Shifting Boundaries of ‘Community’ in Community Archives,” Association of Canadian Archivists.
  • 2017, Winner, Fellows Ernst Posner Award for Best Paper Published in American Archivist, for Michelle Caswell, Marika Cifor, and Mario H. Ramirez, “’To Suddenly Discover Yourself Existing’: Uncovering the Affective Impact of Community Archives,” Society of American Archivists. $500 prize.
  • 2015, Winner, Waldo Gifford Leland Award for Best Publication, Society of American Archivists. For Archiving the Unspeakable: Silence, Agency and the Photographic Record in Cambodia (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014).

Select Publications

  • Caswell, Michelle. Urgent Archives: Enacting Liberatory Memory Work. (Routledge Press, in press, out May 2021.)
  • Caswell, Michelle. Archiving the Unspeakable: Silence, Memory, and the Photographic Record in Cambodia. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2014.
  • Caswell, Michelle. “Dusting for Fingerprints: Introducing Feminist Standpoint Appraisal.” Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies 3:1 (2020), special issue on feminist ethics.
  • Caswell, Michelle, Joyce Gabiola, Gracen Brilmyer, Jimmy Zavala and
    Marika Cifor, “Imagining Transformative Spaces: The Personal-Political Sites of Community Archives,” Archival Science 18(1), 2018: 73-93.