Michelle Caswell, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Archival Studies in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she is also an affiliated faculty member with the Department of Asian American Studies and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

As her Google Scholar profile indicates, her research on archives, memory, public history, and social justice has been widely cited in a range of fields.

She directs a team of brilliant graduate students at the UCLA Community Archives Lab.  Together with Samip Mallick, she is the co-founder of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA), an online repository which documents and provides access to the diverse stories of South Asian Americans. She is also a founding member of the Archivists Against Collective.

Her book, Archiving the Unspeakable: Silence, Memory, and the Photographic Record in Cambodia, was published by the University of Wisconsin Press as part of their Critical Human Rights series in 2014.  The book won the 2015 Waldo Gifford Leland for Best Publication from the Society of American Archivists. The book explores the role of archives and records in the construction of memory about the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Caswell is the guest editor of a special double issue of Archival Science on archives and human rights (2014). She is also the co-guest editor, together with Ricky Punzalan and T-Kay Sangwand, of a  special issue of the new Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies on Critical Archival Studies. She is in the process of co-guest editing a special issue of Archival Science (together with J.J. Ghaddar) on decolonial archives, expected in 2019.

In 2016, she was awarded a three-year, $325,000 Early Career Research Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to study the users of community-based archives in Southern California. In 2018, she was awarded a three-year $331,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to place MLIS students in paid internships at community archives in Southern California.

In 2016, Caswell was also a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Mandela Dialogues on Memory Work 2, a program organized by the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa and the German Global Leadership Academy that convenes an international dialogue series for thought leaders and change agents in the field of memory work. You can read a co-authored reflection on this experience at the Nelson Mandela Foundation site.


She holds a PhD in Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012. She also holds a BA in religion from Columbia University, an MTS in world religions focusing on South Asia from Harvard University, and an MLIS with an archives concentration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.