Disability Anthropology Working Group

Disability Anthropology Working Group Members

Cassandra Hartblay Photo2
Dr. Cassandra Hartblay
Dr. Cassandra Hartblay is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, with appointments at the UTSC Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society and the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Toronto. Dr. Hartblay’s research calls for a robust disability anthropology that takes seriously the challenges that anthropology of disability and anthropologists with disabilities bring to the discipline as a whole, both theoretically and methodologically. Dr. Hartblay is a past recipient of the Zola Award for Emerging Scholars in Disability Studies. They have served on the Steering Committee and the Conference Access Committee of the Disability Research Interest Group of the Society for Medical Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association. Dr. Hartblay’s research includes arts-based methods, such as I WAS NEVER ALONE, a stage play based on ethnographic fieldwork, and critical ethnographic engagements with the category of accessibility and design thinking.
Gyuzel Kamalova (Current Convener, 2019-2020)
Gyuzel is a first year PhD student in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at the University of Toronto. She is interested in disability studies in the post-Soviet context. Gyuzel completed her MA in Anthropology at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver and MA in Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia. In her MA research on orphanage graduates in Kazakhstan, Gyuzel focused on production/reproduction of the self in an institutional environment and ways in which orphanage graduates affected spaces they inhabited and negotiated their stigmatized identities. For the PhD research, she will conduct an institutional ethnography on the experiences of individuals with disabilities in highly medicalized post-Soviet Kazakhstan.
Hannah Quinn (Former Convener, 2018-2019)
Hannah is a fourth year Ph.D. student in socio-cultural anthropology and the collaborative program in sexual diversity studies. Working with intellectually disabled adults, Hannah’s research focuses on theories of consent and the modes of relationality that cultures of consent and coercion allow and foreclose. Specifically, Hannah is working with her participants to understand how notions of ‘capacity to consent’ buttress ableist structures as well as limit the forms of intimacies her participants can engage and experience. Hannah is committed to developing and contributing to the emerging field of disability anthropology, all while considering anthropological questions of personhood and ethics. Methodologically, Hannah is invested in challenging assumptions about who can and cannot participate in research by co-creating accessible research methods that meet the needs of participants.
Vanessa photo
Vanessa Maloney (Former Convener, 2018-2020)
Vanessa Maloney is a fourth year PhD candidate in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at the University of Toronto who has conducted ethnographic research with disabled adults and care services in the Cook Islands, as well as past projects in New Zealand and Tonga. Vanessa’s current work traces how networks of care are carved out within global flows of power, people, and money, and how these care economies unevenly shape disability experiences globally. This work draws on critical disability studies, feminist theories of care and anthropological understandings of interdependency to look at how care is negotiated within the constraints of global capitalism and neocolonialism.


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