Svetlana Borodina, PhD, CPACC



Mellon Teaching Fellow, The Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY

Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, New York, NY



Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC) credential, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals


Ph.D. Anthropology, Rice University, Houston, TX Dissertation title: Needed Subjects: An Ethnography of the Formation of the Inclusion Complex in Russia

Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Graduate Certificate

Center for Critical & Cultural Theory, Graduate Certificate


M.A. Anthropology, Rice University, Houston, TX


M.Sc. Social and Cultural Anthropology (magna cum laude), University of Leuven, Belgium


B.A. Philosophy (with honors), Ural State University, Russia


2023 (accepted for publication)

Borodina, Svetlana. “Russia’s Domestication of Disability Inclusion.” Problems of Post-Communism


Borodina, Svetlana. “Intercorporeal Togetherness: On Russian Blind Activists’ Technology of Disability Inclusion.” Cultural Anthropology 37, 3: 486–512.


Borodina, Svetlana. “On Making Presence: Blind Authors’ Digital Storytelling in Russia.” Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New Media, 21, pp. 23-44.

Borodina, Svetlana. “Unfixing Blindness: Retinal Implants and Negotiations of Abilities in Postsocialist Russia.” In Remaking the Human: Cosmetic Technologies of Body Repair, Reshape and Replacement. Chiara Pussetti and Álvaro Jarrín (eds), pp. 203-227. Berghahn Books.

Borodina, Svetlana. “Strategies of Disability Activism in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia.” Current History, 120 (828), pp. 274–279.


Borodina, Svetlana. Review of Smoking Under the Tsars: A History of Tobacco in Imperial Russia by Tricia Starks. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 74(4), pp. 471-473.


Ostherr, Kirsten, Svetlana Borodina, Rachel Conrad Bracken, Charlie Lotterman, Eliot Storer & Brandon Williams. “Trust and Privacy in the Context of User-Generated Health Data.” Big Data & Society, 4 (1), pp. 1-11.

Public Scholarship


Borodina, Svetlana. “On Changing Forms of Inclusivity in Russia.” Harriman Magazine, Summer 2021, pp. 6-13.


Borodina, Svetlana. Elements of Disability Inclusion in Soviet Disability Pedagogy. Platypus, the CASTAC blog. Available at


Borodina, Svetlana. Does ‘Going Sighted’ Make Life Better? Undoing the Desire to Cure Blindness in Russia. Platypus, the CASTAC blog. Available at

Presentations and Invited Talks


On Making Populations Available for Injury: The Operations of the Postsocialist Debilitation Machine in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, Russian Studies Workshop, Robert F. Byrnes Russian and East European Institute, Indiana University Bloomington


Cripping Eastern Europe – Is Geography the Only Thing That Holds Us Together?, an opening panel discussion of the project “Disability Studies in Eastern Europe – Reconfigurations”


(Post-)Pandemic Eurasia: Why Intersectionality Matters, panelist, event series “From Critical Pedagogies to Research Practice and Public Engagement in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies,” organized by the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at the University of Pittsburgh


Aesthetics of Disability Inclusion and Exclusion in Russia, the 2021 Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies

Tricks, Marks, and Rules of Credibility in Inclusive Employment in Russia, the 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Anthropology

Genealogy of the Inclusion Discourse, Diversity Studies Lab, Moscow

On Ableism, Diversity Research Laboratory, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow

Diversity and Inclusion po-russki: opportunities and challenges, the Russian Studies Workshop at Indiana University Bloomington (panelist)

Technologies of Disability Inclusion in Russia, Trends in Anthropology Theory, Kansas State University

“We’re all for it, of course, but what is it exactly”: On the Value and Indeterminacy of Inclusion in Contemporary Russia, On Russia in Russian!,The REEI Russian-language Colloquium, Indiana University Bloomington

Features of the Development of the Discourse of Social Inclusion in Russia, the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Medicalization and Social Vulnerability as a Framework for Inclusive Interaction: a Case Study of a Joint Project of Blind People and People Managing Addiction in Yekaterinburg, Russia in Anthropology of Disability, Medical Anthropology on the Threshold of the Third Decade of the 21st century: Main Results, New Ideas and Perspectives

Disability Inclusion in Contemporary Russia, the Harriman Institute, Columbia University

Inclusive Communities, Utopian Kruzhok, an online course Body, Technologies, Environment. Disability Studies

Is There a Problem? Blindness and Wellbeing in Postsocialist Russia  in Invisibilization, Third International Conference of the Society for Medical Anthropology


Facets of Accessibility in a Postsocialist City in Space: A How-to Guide, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies 2019 Annual Convention

Domesticating Inclusion: Postsocialist Inflections of a Global Discourse, Ethnographic Cases from Russia in Governing Bodies, the 2019 Annual SOYUZ Symposium


Trust Issues: On How Blind and Sighted Allies Build Inclusive Russia in Embodies Trust: Sensing, Marking, and Being in Unstable Worlds (Part 2), Americal Anthropological Association 2018 Annual Meeting


Simulating Blindness: a Pedagogy of Intersensorial Translations in Engaging Embodies Infrastructures: Material Sensoriums, American Anthropological Association 2015 Annual Meeting

Post-Soviet Disability Tactics: Constructing Extrabilities in Russia in Variation without Difference: How Can the Anthropology of Disability Change the Debate?, American Ethnological Society Spring Meeting


Morning Stroll: The Politics of Blindness, Animals, and Infrastructure in Urban Infrastructures, American Anthropological Association 2014 Annual Meeting

Ethics of Visibility: Terms, Tones, and Postures of Blindness in Today’s Urban Russia in English Department Graduate Symposium, Rice University

On Crafting Your Ethical Self: Walking (together with) Blindness in New Directions in Anthropology Graduate Student Conference, UT Austin, TX

Managing the Gaze: Blind Women Asserting Their Sexuality in Liege, Belgium in Feminist Debates Symposium, Rice University

Organized Panels


Thinking with Credibility in American Anthropological Association 2021 Annual Meeting, co-organized with Yifan Wang

Spectacle, Complaint, and Representation: Disability Advocacy from the late-Soviet Period to the Present in Russia and Central Asia in the 53rd Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, co-organized with Cassandra Hartblay


Embodied Trust: Sensing, Marking, and Being in Unstable Worlds (Part 1) in American Anthropological Association 2018 Annual Meeting, co-organized with Charlie Lotterman

Embodied Trust: Sensing, Marking, and Being in Unstable Worlds (Part 2) in American Anthropological Association 2018 Annual Meeting, co-organized with Charlie Lotterman



Spring 2022: ANTH Mental Health and Illness in Post/Socialism Columbia University

Spring 2021: ANTH Post/Socialist Bodies, Columbia University

Spring 2019: FWIS Disability Matters (First-Year Writing Intensive Seminar), Rice University

Fall 2018: ANTH/SWGS Illness, Disability, and Gendered Bodies, Rice University

Teaching Assistant

Spring 2016: FWIS 152 Nutritional Supplements: Real Remedies or Shady Science? Instructor of record: Dr. Mary Purugganan, Rice University

Spring 2016: ANTH 201: Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology, instructor of record: Dr. Zoë H. Wool, Rice University

Awards and Fellowships


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship

Fondren Fellowship, Rice University (summer research)


Social Science Research Council’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship

Wenner-Gren Fieldwork Dissertation Grant

Wagoner Foreign Study Scholarship, Rice University (declined)

Social Sciences Research Institute Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, Rice University

Summer Research Funding, Department of Anthropology, Rice University (declined)


Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Research Seminar Scholarship

Social Sciences Research Institute Graduate Student Travel Grant, Rice University

Graduate Student Association Travel Grant, Rice University


Social Sciences Research Institute Pre-Dissertation Research Grant, Rice University


Erasmus Mundus Fellowship


Oxford Russian Fund Fellowship

Professional Service


Co-Chair, Early Career Disability Anthropology Community (ECDAC)

Member of the book reviews editorial team, American Ethnologist (beginning July 2022)


Organizer, Care Work in Russia Lecture Series, The Harriman Institute, Columbia University

Managing Editor, Platypus, the official blog of the American Anthropological Association’s Committee on the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing


Organizer, Minority Inclusion and Exclusion in Soviet and Post-Communist Societies Talk Series, The Harriman Institute, Columbia University


Contributing Editor, Platypus, the CASTAC blog

Member of the Organizing Team, Disability Studies @ Rice lecture series, Rice University


Treasurer, Ethnographic Film Society, Rice University


Member of the Organizing Committee, Brown Bag Colloquium Series, Department of Anthropology, Rice University

Member of the Organizing Committee, Mutant Anthropologies Annual Workshop, Department of Anthropology, Rice University

President, Ethnographic Film Society, Rice University

Treasurer, Society for Anthropological Debates, Rice University


Member of the Planning Committee, CSWGS Graduate Symposium 2015 Engaging Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Rice University

Treasurer, Ethnographic Film Society, Rice University

Professional Membership

American Anthropological Association, Society for Medical Anthropology, SOYUZ, Disability Research Interest Group, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, International Association of Accessibility Professionals

Language Skills

Russian (native speaker), English (advanced), Spanish (upper-intermediate), French (intermediate)

Svetlana Borodina