Cassandra Hartblay


19 Russell Street



Assistant Professor of Health Studies and Anthropology, UTSC
Graduate Faculty, Department of Anthropology
Affiliated faculty, Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies



Cassandra Hartblay is Assistant Professor of Health Humanities in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health & Society and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Her research is focused on the moral and cultural dimensions of disability as social difference. Her book manuscript, Totally Normal, explores how the specific context of postsocialism in Russia produces particular configurations of disability as social difference, and how disability advocacy takes on different meanings across global contexts. This work is informed by critical medical anthropology and queer feminist disability studies. Along with critical ethnographic texts, Dr. Hartblay works in multimedia forms. Her play, I WAS NEVER ALONE, based on life history interviews with interlocutors with visible disabilities in Russia, has been performed at UCSD, UNC-CH, and Yale University.


Research Interests

Ethnography, culture, power and politics in health and medicine, disability, global postsocialism, theatre & performance, design & infrastructure, gender & sexuality, digital worlds, Russia and the Russian-speaking CIS



Disability Anthropology, Ethnography of Postsocialism, Medical Anthropology


Selected Publications

Hartblay, Cassandra. “Good Ramps, Bad Ramps: Centralized Design Standards and Disability Access in Urban Russian Infrastructure.” American Ethnologist, 44(1), 2017.

Hartblay, Cassandra. A Genealogy of (post-)Soviet Dependency: Disabling Productivity.”  2013 Zola Award Article, Disability Studies Quarterly, 34(1), 2014.

Rivkin-Fish, Michele, and Cassandra Hartblay. “When Global LGBTQ Advocacy Became Entangled with New Cold War Sentiment: A Call for Examining Russian Queen Experience.” The Brown Journal of World Affairs, 21 (2014): 95.

Recent CERES Internships

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