Series on Archives, Archivists and Society

Litwin Books

Michelle Caswell, Series Editor

Published in the series:

Also of interest:

Archival studies is a sub-field of information studies that is concerned with records as persistent representations and potential evidence of human activity that travel across space and time.[1] In contrast to humanistic work that investigates “the archive” as a metaphor, archival studies investigates the theoretical underpinnings and material implications of archival practice, that is, the principles that guide the preservation, appraisal, description, use, and digitization of collections of actual records, be they analog or digital.

This series highlights publications in critical archival studies. In a 2017 special issue of the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies co- edited by Michelle Caswell, Ricky Punzalan and T-Kay Sangwand, the authors define critical archival studies as those approaches that “(1) explain what is unjust with the current state of archival research and practice, (2) posit practical goals for how such research and practice can and should change, and/or (3) provide the norms for such critique.”[2] Building off definitions of critical theory from the Frankfurt School and its reverberations in what is now known as Critical Library and Information Studies, critical approaches to archival theory and practice are unabashedly emancipatory in aim, emphasizing the structural and interlocking nature of various forms of oppression, including white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy, ableism, and capitalism. Critical approaches to archives not only reveal how power is imbricated in archival theory and practice, but seek to creative a transformative praxis that liberates rather than oppresses.

The series provides various perspectives from both within and outside of the archival community on the idea of archives, the education of archivists, the historical foundations and newer aspects defining archival knowledge, archival leaders and theorists, and new ideas influencing how we now see and value archives and archivists in our current age. These publications are intended for practicing archivists, scholars both within and outside of archival studies, and others interested in the nature of archivists and archives, and students preparing for archival careers.

The Series Editor is Michelle Caswell. Caswell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA.  Her research 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.

Please submit queries, proposals, and manuscripts to Michelle Caswell, michellecaswell at gmail dot com, following the guidelines here (

[1] Geoffrey Yeo, “Concepts of Record (1): Evidence, Information, and Persistent Representation,” American Archivist 70 (2007): 334.

[2] Michelle Caswell, Ricardo Punzalan, and T-Kay Sangwand. “Critical Archival Studies: An Introduction.” Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies 2 (2017),