Svetlana Borodina

Areas of Interest: 
blindness, anthropology of senses, anthropology of work, prosthetic technologies, anthropology of policy, Post-Soviet Russia


I am a PhD student in Anthropology at Rice University. I hold a B.A. in Philosophy with distinction from Ural State University in Russia earned in 2010. During the last year of my B.A. studies, I was elected as a participant in the Regional Seminars for Excellence in Teaching, themed in Political Modernity and supported by the Open Society Foundations' Higher Education Support Program. In 2011, I was awarded the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship to sponsor my studies at the University of Leuven, Belgium. I graduated from the University of Leuven with a Master's degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology magna cum laude. My Master's thesis examined the juncture between blindness and mobility as a marker of empowerment in Western European contexts. I volunteered as an urban mobility and orientation instructor for blind and partially sighted people in Liege, Belgium. At Rice, in addition to my graduate training in Anthropology, I am also a graduate Certificate student at the Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality and at the Center for Critical and Cultural Theory. In 2015-2016, I am taking part in the Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Research Seminar.

In my current dissertation research, I focus on the dynamic relations between blindness and disability and the ways in which these categories factor into the production of the category of the human in post-Soviet Russia. Specifically, I ethnographically and historically investigate the ways in which blind people themselves, state policies, care-givers, accessible prosthetic technologies, urban environments, and disability activists for the past thirty years have been collaborating to redefine blindness as a resource rather than a lack.

Svetlana Borodina
Graduate Student