Current & Upcoming Courses at the University of Toronto:

Fall 2018

HLTD53 Special Topics in Health Humanities: Documentary and Memoir for Health Humanities. Tuesdays 4-6pm.

How can we understand humanistic experiences of healthcare? Memoir writing and documentary media are one genre through which people speak for themselves about their experiences of care. In this course, we explore memoirs of physicians and patients, of people living with disability, of those caring for increasingly disabled parents, of global experiences of disaster, and more. We will look at practices of writing, film, and theatre to draw conclusions about what makes a documentary voice compelling. We will consider ethical concerns of the genre, and interrogate the line between truth and fiction in mediated expressions of human experiences of health, illness, and disability.

Winter 2019

HLTC52 Special Topics in Health Humanities: Global Disability Studies. Thursdays 1-3pm.

This course takes a critical approach to understanding how the category of disability works globally. Starting from a decolonial approach, we will use an integrated social science and humanities approach to understand disability and ableism in global context. Through ethnography, novels, films, and other media, we encounter disability as a relational social experience across diverse locations in China, Kyrgyzstan, the Czech Republic, India, Australia, Africa, and North America. Students will be challenged to consider the manifold social processes by which multiple kinds of bodily difference are stigmatized, and the uneasy relationship of disability studies to the pathologizing practices of medical care and public health.

Past Teaching:

Critical Human Rights and Global Postsocialism. RSEE 365 01 / ANTH460 & ANTH 549 / E&RS 531. Spring 2018. Yale University.

Course Flyer for Critical Human Rights and Global Postsocialism, Yale Unviersity Spring 2017. Small Image of a 1962Soviet Globalism poster showing people of different ethnic backgrounds hands held and raised in front of a globe, with the words Peace! Friendship! in Russian in red text. Followed by course description: his new advanced seminar considers Human Rights and Socialism as modernist, utopian visions for global justice in human society. In the late 20thcentury, socialist visions for justice in the future lost ground, as the doctrine of human rights was put forth by many as a standard bearer for checks on justice across political territories. This course traces the variety of critical approaches that scholars have taken to the problem of human rights, with a focus on ethnography and sociocultural anthropology, or how human rights actually function in daily life. Emphasizing postsocialism, this course foregrounds the so-called second world (Russia, China, and other post/socialist countries) and the global impact of socialism as a moral doctrine for justice. Students write a term paper in which they focus in on either a region or a topic (disability rights, LGBTQ rights, right to education, humanitarian medical intervention, etc). Students are encouraged to develop their own point of view about human rights as transnational humanitarian legal policy and political philosophy. Suitable for students with an interest in Postsocialism and Socialism, Sociocultural/Medical Anthropology, Human Rights and Humanitarianism, and regional interests related to Russia, Eastern and Central Europe, China, and other socialist and postsocialist regions.

Critical Human Rights and Global Postsocialism. RSEE 365 01 / ANTH460 & ANTH 549 / E&RS 531. Spring 2018. Yale University.

Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Russia: Ethnography and Social Theory. Anthropology 325/Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies 327/Euro&Russian Studies 532. Fall 2017. Yale University.

Flyer. Title in Purple text reads "CGS 102: Queer & Crip Theory / Dr. Cassandra Hartblay / Summer Session 1 (July 3-August 5)" Followed by a photo of British Pop Star Viktoria Modesta wearing a black corset, a tall black heeled boot on her right foot and an elaborately decorated and designed prosthetic leg and boot on her left leg, seated in a dramatic and glamorous profile pose. Beneath the photo is a logo and the address of the UCSD Critical Gender Studies Program office. To the right of the photo is the course description in black text: "Is disability sexy? What is “normal”? How do we understand and define normal bodies and minds, and what are the consequences for gender and sexuality? Queer theorists and disability theorists argue that we can only understand an idea of “normal” by observing who and what is excluded from that category. Like queers, disabled people in Euroamerican societies have historically occupied the marginal role of the extraordinary other – medicalized and pathologized – thereby girding an imaginary social norm. This course considers key texts and debates in queer theory and “crip” (queer‐disability) theory. Encountering cultural examples in media and popular culture, students will analyze both media and everyday life from a crip perspective."A flyer for my spring 2017 course at UCSD, ANSC 173, "Ethnography in Practice". Photos: A black & white photo of a white woman with blond hair sitting on a marble floor, listening to a white (male-seeming) person with their back to the camera, with the caption "Ethnography - a way of studying ucltures through observation, participation, and qualitative techniques" [editorial comment: the least racist return from my google image search ai yai yai]; An image from Amy Starecheski's SAPIENS article on the closing of iconic squat houses in Manhattan showing a white man walking out the front door of a punk house with graffiti all over the walls of the hallway; the cover of Mischa Berlinski's novel "Fieldwork". Course description from the course catalog: This practicum course will explore anthropology's traditional methodology, ethnography, through texts, films, and literature, and give students practical experience through a quarter-long case study. Prerequisites: upper-division standing Additional Description: Ethnography is the traditional method of sociocultural anthropology; ethnographic writing seeks to explain the world from a particular subcultural or cultural point of view. How do ethnographers do ethnography? In this course, we will develop the skills and mindset for developing a robust, critical ethnographic practice. We will consider the history of ethnography, its ethical and practical challenges, its methodology, and how ethnography differs from other genres of descriptive, non-fiction writing. The final project for the term will be a written paper based on interviews and observation. The components of the final paper are broken up week by week into smaller assignments that guide students through the process of finding a fieldsite, conducting interviews, taking fieldnotes, analyzing notes and interviews, and writing about these findings. Combined at the end of the term, these components will comprise a finished piece of ethnographic writing. This course is suitable for anthropology majors and minors, students with a strong interest in non-fiction writing or journalism, or students with an interest in pursuing professions in fields that use qualitative research, such as advertising, public health, or UX research.A flyer for my spring 2017 course at UCSD, COMM 111P Performance and Cultural Studies. Images: Yvonne Meier "Mad Heidi" dance performance; "Вот вам театр" (I'll give you theater!) sign from a "Montatsia" protest in Russia; a still screen from the ever-iconic "Leave Brittany Alone" video (Chris Crocker); a performance image from contemporary dance choreographer Shen Wei's "Collective Measures". Plus text from the course catalog, and a longer course description: Catalog description: Performance and Cultural Studies is an intermediate undergraduate course intended to explore performance as a range of aesthetic conventions (theatre, film, performance art) and as a mode of experiencing and conveying cultural identity. Texts include critical writing from anthropology, psychology, linguistics, media studies, as well as film/video, play scripts, live performance. Further description: From mass spectacle and protest, to the creation of self on social media, to Broadway musicals, to poetry readings, performance is all around us. If culture is a system of reproducible shared meanings, how do performances propel, disrupt, and articulate cultural norms? Performance and Cultural Studies is offered in the Communication Department and cross-listed with the Russian, Eurasian, and Eastern European Studies (REEES) major and minor (students will select subject matter related to area studies for their term project). The course begins from the notion that performance is a form of dialogic communication. We will discuss a variety of genres of performance in cultural contexts, engage core texts of performance studies, and draw on examples of how performances can be mobilized as political resistance. Students will participate in workshops to develop a term project, and may opt for a final paper about performance or an aspect of performative culture, or, may create a final live or mediated performance.


Queer & Crip Theory (CGS 102). Program in Critical Gender Studies. Summer Session 2017. University of California, San Diego.

Performance and Cultural Studies (COMM 111P). Department of Communication. Spring Quarter 2017. University of California, San Diego.

Ethnography in Practice (ANSC 173). Department of Anthropology. Spring Quarter 2017. University of California, San Diego.

The Problem of Voice (COMM 127). Department of Communication. Winter Quarter 2017. University of California, San Diego.

“UNITAS” – a year-long course on diversity & democracy, and ethnography as a social justice practice (ANTH 92 and ANTH 93). Department of Anthropology. Fall 2013-Spring 2014; Fall 2014-Spring 2015. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.