Revisiting a Feminist Ethics of Care in Archives

An Introductory Note


  • Michelle Caswell University of California, Los Angeles
  • Marika Cifor University of Washington



In this featured commentary, Michelle Caswell and Marika Cifor revisit their article, “From Human Rights to Feminist Ethics: Radical Empathy in Archives”* and update its insights to reflect care work in our present time of crisis.

Pre-print first published online 06/11/2021


*Michelle Caswell and Marika Cifor, “From Human Rights to Feminist Ethics: Radical Empathy in Archives,” Archivaria 81 (Spring 2016): 23-43.

Author Biographies

Michelle Caswell, University of California, Los Angeles

Michelle Caswell is an Associate Professor of Information Studies at UCLA, where she directs UCLA's Community Archives Lab. Together with Samip Mallick, she is the co-founder of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA).

Marika Cifor, University of Washington

Marika Cifor is Assistant Professor in the Information School at the University of Washington. She is a feminist scholar working at the intersections of archival studies and digital studies. Her research investigates how through archives, records, and data produced within digital cultures, individuals and communities marginalized by sexuality, race, class, gender, and HIV-status enact and give substance to their identities, collective memories, and social movements.

Currently, Marika is working on a book and digital humanities project, Viral Cultures: Activist Archives at the End of AIDS (University of Minnesota Press, under contract), that examines the critical potential of the emotions and memories that are recorded and produced by archives documenting HIV/AIDS activism during the 1980s and 1990s. This project also investigates the activation of these records on contemporary digital platforms by artists, archivists, and activists. As part of the interdisciplinary Border Quants: Feminist Approaches to Data, Bodies and Technologies Across Borders research team, she is working to develop feminist data studies. At the iSchool, Marika holds affiliations with the DataLab and the Technology and Social Change (TASCHA) group.