2022 DHC Symposium Keynote Speaker
Michelle Caswell, PhD
Michelle Caswell, PhD, (she/her) is a Professor of Archival Studies in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where she also holds a joint appointment with Asian American studies. Her work in critical archival studies engages how individuals and communities activate archives to forge identities, to produce feelings of belonging, and to organize against oppression. 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 two books: Urgent Archives: Enacting Liberatory Memory Work (Routledge, 2021) and Archiving the Unspeakable: Silence, Memory and the Photographic Record in Cambodia (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014), as well as more than three dozen peer-reviewed articles. Her work has defined and refined core concepts in critical archival studies, including archival imaginaries, community archives, imagined records, symbolic annihilation, radical empathy, survivor-centered archives, and feminist standpoint appraisal.