Access as Convenience? Tracing Russophone vocabularies of disability access from the late Soviet period to the 2010s
Date: Wednesday, November 9
Location: Classics 110 (1010 E 59th St) or via Zoom
This is a hybrid event. You may register to attend in-person or via Zoom here: https://ceeres.ticketleap.com/access-as-convenience-/
Speaker: Cassandra Hartblay
Assistant Professor in the Department of Health & Society and Graduate faculty in the Department of Anthropology and the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies;
Director, Centre for Global Disability Studies University of Toronto
Abstract: This talk argues that "disability access" as a concept arrived in the Russian vocabulary in the late-Soviet period, but its common usage today obscures the continued circulation of other concepts and terms that reference Soviet lexicons of justice. Drawing on historical research conducted with collaborator Gyuzel Kamalova, and my broader ethnographic work with adults with mobility and speech impairments in northwest Russia, I am interested in tracing how convenience (udobno) as an attribute of movement or action is present both in contemporary ethnographic interviews with disabled Russians, and in Soviet newspaper archives about mobility access in the built environment. Considering Soviet newspaper articles published in Pravda and Izvestiia 1945-1989 in relation to ethnographic stories of inaccessible infrastructure, I observe that although overt discussion of disability was absent from public discourse in the Soviet Union, oblique references to physical difference and disability access are present in the archives of official newspapers. I conclude that convenience represents one possible trace of an endogenous Russophone concept of disability access now obscured by globalization of disability advocacy discourse, and wonder how and why varied vocabularies of disability advocacy across languages and practices might matter for liberatory futures.
We are committed to making this event as accessible as possible. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any access requests by Nov. 1.
Register to attend here: https://ceeres.ticketleap.com/access-as-convenience-/
Sponsors: Department of Comparative human development, Pozen Center, CEERES