My scholarly research focuses on questions of citizenship and disability, particularly in post-Soviet Russia. I am interested in infrastructures, both material and ideological, and I work to synthesize performance studies, science studies, disability studies, queer theory, and medical anthropology to unpack the ways in which categories are created, performed, and negotiated. My dissertation project is an ethnography of contemporary disability experience in a provincial Russian city. My Masters thesis explored the stories of two mothers of children with disabilities in contemporary Russia, taking these cases as a manner of theorizing gender, disability, and post-Soviet relationships between the citizen and the state. In the past, I have written about Waldorf education in Russia, the historical constructions of disability in the Soviet era, and contemporary strategies employed by mothers of children with disabilities in rural Siberia and in Kyrgyzstan. My scholarly praxis also includes non-text-based research outputs, including installation and photography. My work asks what it means to question or queer assumptions about inclusion and exclusion in contemporary social worlds.

Upcoming Presentations:

June 2015 Society for Disability Studies. Details TBA.

Selected Scholarly Publications:

“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.

“Do You Like This Installation?” in The Canadian Journal for Disability Studies, 2:4, Fall 2013.

“Raising Children without Complexes : Successes and Shortcomings in Implementing Inclusive Education in Northern Kyrgyzstan” with Galina Ailchieva, in Learning to See Invisible Children: Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Central Asia, ed. Kate Lapham and Martyn Rouse, June 2013.

Accessing Possibility: Disability, Parent-Activists and Citizenship in Contemporary Russia. A Master’s Thesis completed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2012. (download the PDF directly: Hartblay_MA Thesis)

Liminality in Love: Reading Ritualized Institutional Practice as Civil Society in Alina Rudnitskaya’s Civil Status

Anthropology of East Europe Review, 29:2, 2011

An Absolutely Different Life: locating disability, motherhood, and local power in rural Siberia

An Undergraduate Honors Thesis, available via the Macalester College Library. May 2006.


Review: Мобилизация инвалидности на постсоветском пространстве (Phillips, Sarah D. Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Postsocialist Ukraine) in Journal of Social Policy Research. May 2012. In Russian.
Review: A More Nuanced View: Mothers’ Perspectives and Disability Theory (Gail H. Landsman. Reconstructing Motherhood and Disability in the Age of “Perfect” Babies.) via H-Net Reviews. May 2012.
Review: “Engaging with Both the Residual and the New”: An Ethnography of Disability in Postsocialist Ukraine (Phillips, Sarah D. Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Postsocialist Ukraine.) via H-Net Reviews. May 2011.

Recent Presentations: 

March 12, 2015. “Cripping/Disabling Ethnography.” Studio for Ethnographic Design at the University of California San Diego. Details TBA via the event FB page.

March 14, 2015. “Global Bodies: Problematizing Transnational Definitions of Disability.” Paper to be presented as part of a panel titled “Variation without Difference: How can the Anthropology of Disability Change the Debate?” organized by Matthew Wolf Meyer and Elizabeth Lewis. American Ethnological Society Spring Conference. San Diego, California.

“Kakaia Vlast’, Takie i Dorogi: disability and territories of in/access in contemporary Russia.” Soyuz Symposium. University of Washington, Seattle. Sunday, March 1 2015, Panel 5, 10:30-11:45am.

“Performing invalidnost’: negotiating disability, citizenship and identity between state and non-state organizations in contemporary Petrozavodsk.” Paper as part of a panel organized by Meri Kulmala. ASEEES Annual Convention, San Antonio. November 2014.

“Art Installation As Ethnographic Knowledge Product/Ion: Enacting Non-Textocentric Forms in Ethnography of Disability.” Virtual Poster Media Presentation. AAA Annual Meeting, Washington, DC. December 2014.

“Dual regimes of productivity?: tracing ableisms and resistances in Soviet and postsoviet welfare states” a paper presentation on a panel titled Performing resistance outside of capitalism: Interrogating Soviet, postsoviet, and global leftist ableisms with Anastasia Kayiatos (Presenter), Stevie Peace Larson (Presenter), David T. Mitchell (Discussant) and Louise Hickman (Moderator). At the Society for Disability Studies Conference, Minneapolis, MN. June 2014.

“Do You Like This Installation?” a paper presentation on a panel titled Cripping Cyberspace: Exploring Online Disability Aesthetics. With Amanda Cachia (Panel Organizer, Presenter), Sara Hendren (Presenter), and Margaret Price (Chair/Moderator). At the Society for Disability Studies Conference, Minneapolis, MN. June 2014.

“#SochiProblems?: Rehabilitating Russia from the perpetual “FAIL blog” role.” April 17, 2014. Invited Speaker. 20th Macalester College Russian Studies Conference, Saint Paul, MN.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 (7-8:30pm) Intersection Identities and Justice Roundtable Panel, part of UNC-CH’s 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

Friday, November 22, 2013 (3:00-4:45pm) at the ASEEES 45th Annual Convention in Boston, MA. “‘I’ll Gender You’: Performing Analytic Categories, Detransitioning Russia” an oral presentation on Pussy Riot and teoriia gendera in Russian, as part of a panel titled “Where is Feminist Analysis After the Critique of Dualisms?  Interrogating Russia’s Gender Politics, Mapping Feminist Interpretation,” organized by Julie Hemment and Michele Rivkin-Fish, with Valentina Uspenskaya and Elena Trubina.

November 14, 2013. “Kveer with a Russian accent?: What the Mainstream Media is Missing About LGBTQ Activism in Russia” as part of the Graduate Speaker Series of lunchtime lectures organized by the Program in Sexuality Studies and the UNC Chapel Hill LGBTQ Center. This talk was also supported by the Department of Anthropology and the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies.

September 21, 2013 at the De-colonizing Disability Theory I: Cripping Development conference at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. An oral presentaton titled: Is there a Russian crip public?: On (digital) space, traveling theory, and disability as radical alterity as part of a panel titled Panel V: Imagining Communities Against Dispossesion with Robert McRuer and Susan Schweik (remote presentation).

March 16, 2013. “Welcome to Sergeichburg: Imagining spaces of difference in Russian digital publics,” an oral presentation as part of a panel titled, Symbolic Identification: Personal and Public, at a colloquium on Performativity and Social Communication. Higher School of Economics, Department of Sociology. Moscow, Russia.

November 2012 at the San Francisco meeting of the American Anthropological Association. A presentation called Undoing Ableism: Toward a non-Dualist Universal Design as part of the Inno-vent session on Anthropology and Design, organized by Dr. Arturo Escobar. Watch the video version of this presentation on Vimeo.

Or visit my page on or download my full curriculum vitae.

Or see this preliminary description of my dissertation research from the 2011 IREX Regional Policy Symposium on Gender.