I first encountered Eli Clare’s slim memoir in a graduate course on Disability Theory, but to be honest what really struck me at the time — and has stayed with me in the years since — is Clare’s way of integrating the seasonal shifts and geography of Oregon into his powerful story of navigating life as a trans man with cerebral palsy. Exile and Pride does an astonishing job of conveying the parallel experiences of personal and environmental destruction and rehabilitation; it’s become a trope to think of the body as a landscape, but Clare vividly demonstrates how capitalism infiltrates not just the ways we choose to use our environmental resources, but how we view and use one another’s bodies. To his way of thinking, the more alienated we are from our natural environment, the easier it is to become alienated from ourselves and others; and it is easy to abuse what you don’t appreciate or understand. Since its initial publication in 1999, we’ve seen a boom in excellent books on gender and disability theory. What I love about Exile and Pride is its localism: Clare’s story and insights are borne of the Oregon experience, but they shed critical light on life everywhere. Recommended By Rhianna W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
First published in 1999, the groundbreaking Exile and Pride is essential to the history and future of disability politics. Eli Clare's revelatory writing about his experiences as a white disabled genderqueer activist/writer established him as one of the leading writers on the intersections of queerness and disability and permanently changed the landscape of disability politics and queer liberation. With a poet's devotion to truth and an activist's demand for justice, Clare deftly unspools the multiple histories from which our ever-evolving sense of self unfolds. His essays weave together memoir, history, and political thinking to explore meanings and experiences of home: home as place, community, bodies, identity, and activism. Here readers will find an intersectional framework for understanding how we actually live with the daily hydraulics of oppression, power, and resistance. At the root of Clare's exploration of environmental destruction and capitalism, sexuality and institutional violence, gender and the body politic, is a call for social justice movements that are truly accessible to everyone. With heart and hammer, Exile and Pride pries open a window onto a world where our whole selves, in all their complexity, can be realized, loved, and embraced.
"Clare gives us a vision of a broad-based and intersectional politics that can move us beyond the current divisions of single-issue movements." Rachel Rosenbloom Women's Review of Books
"Exile and Pride is a call to awareness, an exhortation for each of us to examine our connection to and alienation from our environment, our sexuality, and each other." Kenny Fries, author of Body, Remember: A Memoir
"Eli Clare writes with the spirit of a poet and the toughness of a construction worker. The passion and skill of [his] writing will draw you inside a complex life and more deeply inside yourself." Jewelle Gomez, author of The Gilda Stories
About the Author
Eli Clare is a poet, essayist, activist, and the author of The Marrow's Telling: Words in Motion. He speaks regularly at universities and conferences throughout the United States about disability, queer identities, and social justice, and his writing has appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies. He can be found on the web at www.eliclare.com.