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Exile & Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation
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Exile & Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  725 ratings  ·  70 reviews
“Eli Clare works a vital alchemy. . . . Using the language of the elemental world, he delineates a complex human intersection and transmutes cruelty into its opposite—a potent, lifegiving remedy.”—Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home

First published in 1999, Exile & Pride established Eli Clare as one of the leading writers on the intersections of queerness and disability.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by South End Press (first published September 1st 1999)
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Jun 16, 2009 Tinea rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tinea by: many people over time, i forget who
Exile and Pride reads like two books in one. The first, a personal unraveling of experiences growing up poor and genderqueer with cerebral palsy in a rural white logging town in Oregon, and the second, a deeper and more theoretical analysis of ableist oppression, cultural constructions of disability, and disability activism for self-determination, also grounded in thoughtful examination of Clare's personal experience.

Clare writes ambivalently about his ties to rural land and the values espoused
Exile and Pride changed my life and transformed my political outlook at age 23. It provided a critical analysis of ableism that helped me finally understand how my experiences as a queer with cerebral palsy fit into a radical social justice framework. His writing on language, the body, history, class, and the environment is engaging, hopeful and personal. I felt his race analysis was problematic overall, though the chapter on the freakshow is excellent. A must-read for everyone concerned with ...more
I expected to have strong feelings about this book. For some time I'd avoided reading it because I find some of Clare's subsequent work rather off-putting; I think he drastically oversimplifies the relationship between pride and shame, and I cringe at the suggestion that people who can 'pass' as 'normative' have an ethical responsibility to forfeit their privacy for a variety of liberation that they may not desire. But as I was struggling to come to terms with my own chronic pain this winter I f ...more
Jan 17, 2012 Katie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone who is willing to take it with an open mind
Read this for class. I found some things (though they were minor, petty things in all honesty) hard to latch onto on a personal level but what this book says is so important. Clare is fearless and funny, strong and stubborn in the way that a good example of critical thought on society should be. I enjoyed the book and the discussions had on it very much. One of the most vital ideas contained within this book is the idea that nobody is a perfect all-righteous activist. Things in life will contrad ...more
Jan 05, 2008 Nomy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with disabilities, survivors, activists, queers
melodie got me this book for chanukah. i've been hearing about it for years and finally got to read it. eli is a deep thinker and takes readers along with his train of thought (from what i know, eli uses masc. pronouns now - at the time of the writing he was butch-dyke identified). the theme of exile has to do with the home he loved and left for lots of reasons - queerness, abuse, general lack of options. the descriptions of his lost rural northwest logging town are full of emotion but not senti ...more
Clare uses language to articulate the complexity that is being working class, disabled and queer among other identities, such as survivor. I did not expect such a long history of logging or freak shows, but she needed that to connect us with her entire lived experience.

I appreciated the questions weaves throughout the prose, but I also appreciated how Clare herself did not back down from answering them.

It was also nice to see a writer from Ann Arbor.
Lui Ramirez
THIS BOOK, I SWEAR. I recommend it to anyone who likes reading, honestly. I know it is a broad, vague thing to say, but seriously: I want everyone to read this book.
If you are interested in beautiful literature and storytelling, if you are interested in queer literature, if you are interested in disability literature. If you are interested in expanding your worldview and have the words that were all scrambled in your head put neatly and clearly on a page while also having some words you didn't k
Leandra Vane
I think personally I rate this book 3.5 stars but gave it the 4 stars because the writing is at times very striking and he makes his points in a very clear manner which I appreciated. The overall form of the piece was hard to place as he tackles topics ranging from disability to clear cutting, dyke identity to sexual abuse. I found myself going back and forth, being gripped to the core as he details an experience that could have been lifted from my own memory as a person with a disability to bei ...more
One of the best books about intersectionality I've ever read and one of my favorite books of the summer. Eli Clare does a masterful job of weaving together theory and stories to explain how questions of identity and environmental destruction are incredibly complicated. He does an excellent job of explaining the misconceptions that activists and liberal people interested in social justice have of people from the community he grew up in. He writes about how working class clear cutters are often po ...more
Abbie Sizer
Exile & Pride purports two separate accounts in a single book. Within the first half of the text, Eli Clare deconstructs his experiences growing up gender-queer with cerebral palsy in a rural, predominantly white, logging city in Oregon. The second half of the text is a theoretical analysis of ableist oppression and cultural constructions of disability.
Clare describes his ties with the rural community he grew up in and the values espoused within that community. He describes the solace and
Feb 01, 2008 lia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who avoid books on gender because they bash you over the head.
When I was in college, I took a class about place, and about the complexities of 'home' and 'work' and the economy of place and all sorts of other things. This was in the pacific northwest, and in my class, you guessed it, were a lot of hippies. It was exciting for many of us to look at how being against something like clearcutting shouldn't make you unable to think about what it means for the economy, for the people who cut the trees, mill the trees and pulp the trees. How caring about spotted ...more
This book is like a meandering walk in the woods. It's a little long winded in some points and hard or uncomfortable or sweaty at some points. It even overdoes the metaphor like I'm doing right now. But the author has a *powerful* voice and brings complex, honest questions and thoughts and research about disability, queerness, gender, history, environmentalism, activism, etc. a fantastic book to follow after reading Dean Spade. This book, its complexities and realities, is part of the history ou ...more
Loved this book and not sure why I hadn't read it earlier. Clare's prose is wonderful. The book is a great example of thinking intersectionality. Most of all, it reminded me of my favorite essay collections from Firebrand Books. It is in that spirit and tradition.
A thought-provoking meditation on equality, liberalism, and social justice. Eli Clare examines the complicated nuances of many issues that are often treated in very black-and-white terms, discussing the moral complexities of reconciling environmental responsibility with our responsibility to rural communities whose economies are based on fishing or logging, analysing the changing attitudes towards disability in our society, and trying to tease out the relations and differences in urban / rural d ...more
This book was like coming home.

At a certain point, the word "intersectionality" stops resonating, and starts sounding like academic queer theorists trying to sound smart.

Reading a book that says so much in so few words, doesn't coin any new terms, avoids jargon, and tells a story in plain words was the best present I could've given myself. This book is about so many things -- ask me what the theme was, and I couldn't say. Still, it never feels aimless.

As an urban, Mulatto, (temporarily) able-
This book was amazing and beautiful, thought provoking and devastating, all at once. Eli Clare’s essays are written in a way that makes you feel you are almost intruding on something so personal it wasn’t meant for observers. So many times, I found myself nodding in agreement with his assessment. Even in essays centering on things like logging and deforestation. His writing makes a very strong case that gender can not be examined alone, but must be seen in concert with race, class, origin, abili ...more
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
What a wonderfully written and engaging work. I was totally engaged by the way that Eli was able to tease out the nuances and conflicts that have been apart of his life. He never quite resolves things--do we ever?--but his capacity to weave together many different and conflicting stories of his life is amazing. It's a pleasure to read authors who have the ability to make connections across boundaries--authors who actively seek to break down the separations in life and show--with brilliance--the ...more
Clare deals excellently with the complexity of gender, sexuality, disability, class, and race. The imagery is great. Reading it was a good experience.
Toby Wiggins
'Bold, brash stories about reclaiming out bodies and changing the world'
it's been a few months since i read it. amazing, highly recommend
Eli Clare offers an incredibly useful intersectional narrative that works through the experiences of having a disability, being queer, being genderqueer, coming from a mixed class family in a rural setting, and experiencing childhood sexual abuse. He engages with language, oppressions, divisions, and both experiences of exile as well as what is required to claim pride. There are so many important points of departure in this text, that every time I read it I think it will newly contribute to my p ...more
jessi lee
this book was a gift, and it meant alot to me to read it. eli's use of the idea of exile in relation to queerness & surviving violence & economics & rural life were really helpful to me in thinking about my relationship to the upper penninsula. it gave me a way of wrapping my head around all of the different kinds of loving & turning away that keep me uncertain how to talk about "where i'm from."

eli's discussion of disability & freak history was also really good. i think that
brilliant and beautifully written analysis and exploration of the body, disability justice, environmental destruction, capitalism, home, displacement/exile, gender, and queer liberation. there are no easy answers to the questions he raises, but he explores them with surprising honesty and humility.


seriously. i've been conveniently leaving it out in the break room at work, praying that my coworkers will pick it up and leaf through it during their down time.

This was not exactly what I was expecting. I am not sure what I was -- the focus on environmentalism took me by surprise, that's one thing -- and that's not to say this is a bad book. It isn't; it's a thoughtful, incisive dissection of the intersection of class, disability, and sexuality, against a backdrop of the Pacific Northwest. But I was expecting something more powerful, I guess; this didn't leave me shaken and blinking as my world broke apart and reformed afresh.
A bookgroup read. Well written, even if I wanted the author to delve a little more into some of the topics, and give the reader a little more credit for possibly not being a jerk/uninformed. The writing was lyrical, though.

(I'm finding the weird thing about bookgroup is that I like a book less by the time I walk out of the room. I'm not sure if that's an effect of book groups in general, or this particular bookgroup.)
This book often resurfaces in my head. I feel like some of the ideas counter the obvious truisms about disability, class, and environment in such a way that reading this book accomplished two things. It bent some of my my ideas in a really good mind-opening way and simultaneously emboldened me and gave me a better language to explain some other ideas that had been buried in the back of my brain for a while.
Just starting it, but it's definitely an interesting read. It's an moving look at the reality of intersecting identities in the life of someone with roots in rural Southern Oregon. Explorations of environmentalism, classism, ableism, and heterosexism rooted in the life of one individual. I'm enjoying it enough after two chapters to want to buy copies for friends. Will say more when I finish it.
Kathleen O'Neal
A beautifully written meditation on disability, sexuality, gender, abuse, rural identity, class, and youth. Clare isn't exactly breaking new ground theoretically with this book but that matters little. At times I saw myself in this book. More often, I saw reflections of other disabled, rural, and/or queer people (as well as abuse survivors) I have known. Highly recommended.
This is a super amazing exploration of intersectional identity. It's personal, confessional, and awesome, and it reads like your activist friend wrote it cuz that's what happened. The narrative structure flows really well and they talk about growing up working class in a logging town in Oregon, disability, genderqueerness, and horizontal oppression.
Jay Kiss
This Book deserves so much more creit than it has! I learned so much. omg!
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White, disabled, and genderqueer, Eli Clare has a B.A. in Women's Studies, a M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and most importantly a penchant for rabble-rousing. Among other pursuits, he has walked across the United States for peace, coordinated a rape prevention program, and helped organize the first ever Queerness and Disability Conference. He has spoken all over the United States at conferences, com ...more
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“Laugh and cry and tell stories. Sad stories about bodies stolen, bodies no longer here. Enraging stories about the false images, devastating lies, untold violence. Bold, brash stories about reclaiming our bodies and changing the world.” 6 likes
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