Cassandra Hartblay

Assistant Professor, Department of Health and Society, UTSC
Affiliated Faculty, Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies
Director, Centre for Global Disability Studies
Graduate Faculty, Department of Anthropology
Headshot of Cassandra Hartblay

Areas of interest

  • Ethnography
  • Social theory
  • Power and politics in health and medicine
  • Design & infrastructure
  • Gender & sexuality
  • Intersectional and decolonial engaged research methods
  • Digital worlds
  • Ethnic minorities of Russia
  • Contemporary Kyrgyzstan
  • Theatre & performance
  • Names & Naming practice


Main Bio

Cassandra Hartblay is Assistant Professor in the Department of Health & Society at UTSC and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. She is the inaugural director of the Centre for Global Disability Studies. Dr. Hartblay is a sociocultural medical anthropologist working at the intersection of queer feminist disability studies. Along with critical ethnographic texts, Dr. Hartblay creates engaged, public-facing creative research outputs. 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, and was published with University of Toronto Press in 2020. Dr. Hartblay is completing a second ethnographic monograph on disability and accessible design in Russia titled Global Access Friction, and at work on a new project investigating the social life of the Russophone patronymic in contemporary Kyrgyzstan

Select publications

  • Hartblay, Cassandra and Tatiana Klepikova. “Bodyminds Online: Digitally Mediated Selves in Regional Cultural Context.” Digital Icons. Introduction to a special issue on embodiment in new media cultures in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. July 2021.

  • Hartblay, Cassandra. I Was Never Alone or Oporniki: An Ethnographic Play on Disability in Russia. University of Toronto Press, 2020.

  • 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.