Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Harriman Institute, Columbia University
Disability Studies in Russia is a new and rapidly growing interdisciplinary area that is moving towards the forefront of scholarly efforts to understand social movements, civil society development, political engagement, issues of identity, social inclusion, and historical memory in contemporary Russia. Important historical work is being done in this area as well, to uncover the “hidden history” of the Soviet-era disability rights movement. Preeminent sociologist Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova (HSE-Moscow) was a Scholar-in-Residence at Indiana University’s Institute for Advanced Study in 2011 and has continued collaborations with Indiana scholars on disability studies issues. Russian-Indiana cooperation in disability studies continued with productive research visits to IU by Dr. Zhanna Chernova (Sociology, HSE-St. Petersburg) and Dr. Anna Klepikova (Anthropology, European University of Saint Petersburg (EUSP)). Most recently, Dr. Svetlana Borodina (Anthropology, Harriman Institute) visited IUB to help Dr. Phillips plan the Decolonizing Disability Studies in Countries of the Former USSR at the IU Europe Gateway in Berlin that was held July 8-9, 2022.
Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Harriman Institute, Columbia University
Associate Professor, History and Global Studies, William & Mary
Assistant Professor, University of Toronto Scarborough
Director, Centre for Global Disability Studies
Professor of Sociology, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow
Head, International Laboratory for Social Integration Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow
Professor and Deputy Chair, Department of Anthropology, European University St. Petersburg,
PhD Student, Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University
Director, Russian and East European Institute
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Communications, Media, and Design/School of Media, Higher School of Economics, Moscow
Junior Research Fellow, International Laboratory for Social Integration Research, Higher School of Economics, Moscow
The Russian and Eastern European Institute and the RSW have collaborated with the Museum of Nonconformist Art (MoNA) on ProfessionART, a multi-format educational program designed for professional artists with disabilities from the US and Russia.
Founded in 2019 by Professor Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova at the Higher School of Economics (Moscow), the International Laboratory for Social Integration Research brings together professors, graduate students and postdocs to conduct research on diverse disability-related topics such as inclusive education, social services reforms, inclusive employment, disability and sexuality, and media representations of disability.
To learn more about the HSE's International Laboratory for Social Inclusion Research, visit https://www.hse.ru/ilsir.
Past recorded lectures and panels are available on their YouTube channel.
The RSW Disability Studies working group is a supporter of this ongoing initiative, organized by RSW affiliate Alexandra Kurlenkova.
Zhanna Chernova was a visiting scholar at IU in the Fall of 2017 and presented a lecture on the organization of orphan care in contemporary Russia: "Professionalization of Foster Parenting in Contemporary Russia."
Anna Altukhova's visit to the IU Bloomington campus in Spring 2020 was unfortunately cancelled due to the COVID pandemic travel restrictions.
Bio info on Anna is forthcoming.
Workshop at the IU Europe Gateway in Berlin organized by Dr. Phillips (IU) and Dr. Borodina (Harriman Instutite) to provide a forum for scholars of disability from the region (particularly those studying in Ukraine, Central Asia, Caucasus, the Baltics, and Russia) in which to explore decolonizing disability studies in the shadow of Russia’s war on Ukraine, develop their ideas, establish networks, and plan future projects.
A lecture given by Svetlana Borodina, Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, during her visit to Bloomington in March 2022.
Following up on the previous semester's screening of "Setting off with Malcom," the RSW Disability Studies Working Group screened a subsequent film by Russian film director and activist Jerry Mercury.
The RSW Disability Studies Working Group screened of the short documentary film "Setting off with Malcolm" (22 min.), by the Russian film director and activist Jerry Mercury. The director joined via Zoom to introduc the film and lead a Q&A with the audience after the screening.
In mid-May, 2021, members of RSW’s Disability Studies Working Group met via Zoom with Dickinson College Russian Department faculty Alyssa DeBlasio and Izolda Savenkova to workshop Unit 2 of DeBlasio and Savenkova’s textbook for advanced Russian language learners, Pro-Dvizhenie: Advanced Russian through Film and Media. The textbook (Georgetown University Press, 2023) uses an inquiry-based curriculum based around contemporary film.
Researchers, artists, and instructors took part in a Booudy Think Tank in support of Yulia Tsvetkova, Anna Khodyreva and the youth theater "Merak." The discussion was accompanied by viewing scenes from the play "Pink and blue" and commentary about the inclusive work of "Merak." Participants included Anna Khodyreva, Anton Ryanov, Vera Berlinova, Alexandra Kurlenkova, Svetlana Borodina, Sarah Phillips, Kristina Pokrytan, Sofia Savina, Anna Kilina, and Kira Shmyreva.
feminist translocalities, 16:52, 05 June 2021:
The RSW Spring 2021 Film Series, Power, Poetics, and Play: Documenting Soviet Legacies, will screen the 2019 documentary "VOY" ("БОЙ"), directed by Maxim Arbugaev. The screening will be introduced by the director/producer and followed by a conversation and Q&A with them and IU Professor Sarah Phillips.
RSW Series Critical Conversations in Russian Studies panel discussion focusing on how ideologies and practices around “inclusion” and “diversity” are being understood, implemented, and reshaped in contemporary Russia.
As a part of the REEI Series, "О России по-русски! On Russia in Russian!," Anna Komarova presented the lecture: «Русский жестовый язык и American Sign Language: родство и различие культуры глухих» / “Russian Sign Language and American Sign Language: Affinities and Distinctions in Deaf Culture,” March 29, 2021.
Presented by the International Laboratory for Social Integration Research, the participants of an independent project “Bitter Access” (part of the utopian group “Body, Technology, Environment”) - Ksenia Nifontova, Denis Redkin, Nikolay Belov, Alina Zhekamukhova and Sasha Kurlenkova - talked about their (ongoing) experience of studying accessibility of Gorky Park, based on walks with users of mechanical and electric wheelchairs. Researchers presented their methodological reflections and shared what they have already learnt about park accessibility. March 1, 2021
As a part of the REEI Series, "О России по-русски! On Russia in Russian!," Svetlana Borodina presented the lecture: «"Мы, конечно, только за, но уточните, что это такое": о ценности и неопределенности инклюзии в современной России» / "We're all for it, of course, but what is it exactly: on the value and indeterminacy of inclusion in contemporary Russia," March 1, 2021.
Sarah Phillips was a guest of the online interactive Russian-language seminar Utopian Kruzhok, “Body, Technology, Environment: Disability Studies. She discussed her research on the disability rights movement in Ukraine and her book Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Postsocialist Ukraine. August 29, 2020
In November 2018, REEI Director Sarah Phillips of Indiana University's Department of Anthropology collaborated with Iarskaia-Smirnova, Klepikova, and other colleagues to convene with RSW/CCNY support an international conference at HSE-Moscow on “Breaking Down Barriers 2.0: A Colloquium in Disability Studies.” The colloquium brought together 25 academics, activists, and PhD students studying disability issues in Russia. Many participants were from Russia’s “regions,” including higher education institutions and organizations in Saratov, Ekaterinburg, Kazan, Novosibirsk, Barnaul, and others. One, and possibly more, special issues of the Journal of Social Policy Studies are planned as the result of this colloquium.
Zhanna Chernova was a visiting scholar at IU in the Fall of 2017 and presented a lecture on the organization of orphan care in contemporary Russia.
Anna Klepikova was a visiting shcolar at IU in the Fall of 2017. She lectured on the situation of mentally disabled people, especially those with congenital intellectual and development disabilities, who live in long-term residential institutions in present-day Russia.
Discussion with Svetlana Borodina on October 12, 2020 sponsored by the Harriman Institute at Columbia University.
Iarskaia-Smirnova, E. R. and V. Verbilovich. "'It’s No Longer Taboo, is It?' Stories of Intimate Citizenship of People with Disabilities in Today’s Russian Public Sphere." Sexuality and Culture. 24/2, 428-46 (2020). doi
The edited collection, The Other Side of the Moon, or What We Do Not Know about Disability was presented at the 7th Symposium on Medical Anthropology in Moscow in June 2019. Edited by medical anthropologists Elena E. Nosenko-Stein and Alexandra S. Kurlenkova, contributors to the volume include professors Sarah D. Phillips and Anna Klepikova, both of whom were instrumental in the RSW-cosponsored Colloquium in Disability Studies in Moscow in 2018.
Sasha Kurlenkova has published numerous articles on disability studies, and we refer you to the listing on her bio: