book cover shows book title "I was never alone or oporniki: an ethnographic play on disability in Russia: Cassandra Hartblay" in grey, yellow, and red text inside of a yellow circle reminiscent of a spotlight on an off-white background over a partial view of theatre seats which are painted in a way that some are fading into the background.

I Was Never Alone or Oporniki: An Ethnographic Play on Disability in Russia

I Was Never Alone or Oporniki presents an original ethnographic stage play, based on fieldwork conducted in Russia with adults with disabilities. The core of the work is the script of the play itself, which is accompanied by a description of the script development process, from the research in the field to rehearsals for public performances. In a supporting essay, the author argues that both ethnography and theatre can be understood as designs for being together in unusual ways, and that both practices can be deepened by recognizing the vibrant social impact of interdependency animated by vulnerability, as identified by disability theorists and activists.

Order now from University of Toronto Press. Visit the companion site to the book for further resources.

Selected Research Articles:

“Disability Expertise: Claiming Disability Anthropology.” Current Anthropology. Wenner-Gren Symposium Special Issue “Disability Worlds,” edited by Faye Ginsburg and Rayna Rapp. 62(S21). February 2020.

“After Marginalization: Pixelization, Disability, and Social Difference in Digital Russia.” South Atlantic Quarterly. 118(3): 543–572. July 1 2019.

Keywords for Ethnography & Design.” Edited Collection with Joseph D. Hakins and Melissa Caldwell. Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology website. March 2018.

“Good Ramps, Bad Ramps: Centralized Design Standards and Disability Access in Urban Russian Infrastructure.” American Ethnologist 44(1): January 9 2017.

“Disabling Structures: Perspectives on Marginalization in a Russian Cityscape,” Landscapes of Violence 3(1) 2015. *this is a photo essay that combines text and photographs, compiled as a large, image-based PDF file; please message me if you would like a text-based version of this publication with image descriptions.

“Welcome to Sergeichburg: Disability, Crip Performance, and the Comedy of Recognition in Russia” in Journal of Social Policy Studies 12(1) 2014. In English and Russian translation.

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

Liminality in Love: Reading Ritualized Institutional Practice as Civil Society in Alina Rudnitskaya’s Civil Status
Anthropology of East Europe Review, 29:2, 2011

Public & Digital Scholarship: