Faculty Bulletin Board

Society of American Archivists honors assistant professor’s essay

Michelle Caswell

Michelle Caswell, assistant professor of information studies.

Michelle Caswell, assistant professor of archival studies in the department of information studies, has been named one of the recipients of the 2017 Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award for an essay she wrote with Mario Ramirez, a doctoral candidate at UCLA in information studies, and Marika Cifor, a postdoctoral fellow from Bowdoin College. The award is given by the Society of American Archivists and recognizes an outstanding essay dealing with some facet of archival administration, history, theory and/or methodology that was published during the preceding year in the society’s journal, “The American Archivist.”

Their essay titled, “‘To Suddenly Discover Yourself Existing’: Uncovering the Impact of Community Archives,” reports on a set of qualitative interviews with South Asian American educators regarding their reaction to the South Asian American Digital Archive, an independent, nonprofit, community-based organization.

The essay suggests that community archives can counter the symbolic annihilation of marginalized groups, creating instead feelings of representational belonging. The awards committee noted that the research “presents a clear, deeply theorized and documented case for the impact of community archives” and “advances our understanding of community archives, an increasingly important area for the archival profession as we tackle issues of diversity and post-custodial approaches to preserving information.”

The award will be presented to the three authors at a ceremony during the society’s annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, July 23–29. Established in 1982, the award is named for Ernst Posner, a Society of American Archivists Fellow and former president as well as a distinguished author.

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