In this episode of the AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting podcast, Cassandra Hartblay talks with Matt Artz about the theme of transitions, her research on the cultural dimensions of disability in post-Soviet Russia, and her use of performance ethnography as a method to explore and understand disability. They also discuss the importance of accessibility and inclusion, both within the academic field and in the city of Toronto. Finally, Cassandra shares recommendations for places to visit and highlights the Tangled Art + Disability art gallery as a vibrant hub for showcasing the artwork of disabled artists.
Cassandra Hartblay is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Health Humanities at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She is also the Director of the Centre for Global Disability Studies. With a background in sociocultural and medical anthropology, Cassandra specializes in gender, sexuality, and disability theory, with a specific regional focus on Russia and the former Soviet Union.
Cassandra's research combines ethnographic methods with documentary arts, performative and visual formats, and traditional academic writing. She brings a unique blend of academic expertise and experience in non-profit work, digital media, and event planning to her work in academia, contributing to institution building within the field.
At the core of Cassandra's research is an exploration of citizenship and disability, particularly within the context of post-Soviet Russia. Her work bridges the fields of Medical Anthropology, Disability Studies, and Queer Theory, offering a synthesis of theoretical perspectives to understand and address the complex intersectionalities of disability and citizenship. Cassandra's ethnographic approach enables her to delve deep into the lived experiences and perspectives of individuals, contributing to a nuanced understanding of disability in its social and cultural contexts.