I Was Never Alone or Oporniki: An Ethnographic Play on Disability in Russia

By Cassandra Hartblay

© 2020

I Was Never Alone or Oporniki presents an original ethnographic stage play, based on fieldwork conducted in Russia with adults with disabilities. The core of the work is the script of the play itself, which is accompanied by a description of the script development process, from the research in the field to rehearsals for public performances. In a supporting essay, the author argues that both ethnography and theatre can be understood as designs for being together in unusual ways, and that both practices can be deepened by recognizing the vibrant social impact of interdependency animated by vulnerability, as identified by disability theorists and activists.

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Product Details

  • Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 218 pages
  • Illustrations: 20
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.6in x 9.2in
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SKU# HE000817

  • PUBLISHED OCT 2020
    From: $26.95
    ISBN 9781487588403
  • PUBLISHED OCT 2020

    From: $56.25

    Regular Price: $75.00

    ISBN 9781487588410
  • PUBLISHED OCT 2020
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Quick Overview

This ethnographic play and supporting commentary contribute to the development of disability anthropology, and to a conversation about the use of performance methodologies in anthropology and ethnographic research.

I Was Never Alone or Oporniki: An Ethnographic Play on Disability in Russia

By Cassandra Hartblay

© 2020

I Was Never Alone or Oporniki presents an original ethnographic stage play, based on fieldwork conducted in Russia with adults with disabilities. The core of the work is the script of the play itself, which is accompanied by a description of the script development process, from the research in the field to rehearsals for public performances. In a supporting essay, the author argues that both ethnography and theatre can be understood as designs for being together in unusual ways, and that both practices can be deepened by recognizing the vibrant social impact of interdependency animated by vulnerability, as identified by disability theorists and activists.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 218 pages
  • Illustrations: 20
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.6in x 9.2in
  • Reviews

    "Cassandra Hartblay’s I Was Never Alone is among the most important publications in disability studies that attends to the multiple and contested meanings of disability and impairment in a specific location. Hartblay’s ethnography of disability in northeastern Russia encourages us to interpret the social and built environment around us in critical and generative ways; the limitations as well as the potential that she traces in the region should encourage all readers to imagine new, varied, and critically crip futures."


    Robert McRuer, George Washington University

    "I Was Never Alone showcases the power of performance ethnography to rise up to anthropology’s greatest challenges: to co-produce ethnographic knowledge that is non-extractive, collaborative, relevant, effective, responsible, and just. This is a wonderful book that joins the growing field of experimental and multimodal anthropology; it is compelling, accessible, teachable, and world-opening as it moves across genres of representation and engagement, including ethnographic argumentation, play script, field notes, photographs, and classroom exercises. We see not only what it means to ‘crip theater,’ but what it looks like to share power in the production of engaged anthropology."


    Debra Vidali, Emory University

    "Located at the intersection of disability studies, performance studies, and cultural anthropology, Casandra Hartblay's I was Never Alone or Oporniki presents a startlingly original approach to what the author labels ‘disability expertise.’ The book amplifies the collective work of producing creative theater. The voices, theatrical grit, and cultural specificity of people with disabilities in Russia resonate off the page, opening up new channels of understanding and action."


    Rayna Rapp, New York University
  • Author Information

    Cassandra Hartblay is an assistant professor of Anthropology and Health Humanities at the University of Toronto, Scarborough.
  • Table of contents

    About This Book

    Foreword

    Play Script

    Cast of Characters
    Setting
    Time 
    Portrait I: Vera
    Portrait II: Vakas
    Portrait III: Alina
    Portrait IV: Sergei
    Portrait V: Rudak
    Portrait VI: Anya

    Photos

    Ethnographer’s Essay: Rituals of Vulnerability

    Introduction
    Background

    a. Words for Disability
    b. Disability in Russia
    c. Defining Performance Ethnography
    d. Performance Ethnography and/in Anthropology

    Staging Disability: Interdependency and Crip Time
    Making I Was Never Alone or Oporniki: Origins and Writing Process
    Representing Russia on the North American Stage
    Making I Was Never Alone or Oporniki: Casting and Rehearsing Access: Disability Theatre in Practice

    Conclusion

    Afterword

    Appendix 1: Performance Ethnography Exercises

    Appendix 2: Disability Terminology

    Appendix 3: Russian and Soviet Historical References

    Appendix 4: Suggestions for Reading this Work in the Classroom

    Appendix 5: Prop List and Dramaturgical Note

    Appendix 6: An Ethic of Accommodation

    Appendix 7: Glossary and Pronunciation of Russian Words

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