WWU to host writer, poet and activist Eli Clare March 7

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, with co-sponsorship from the Palliative Care Institute, Community and Health Studies, the LGBTQ Advocacy Council, and Education and Social Justice, will bring the acclaimed writer, poet, and activist Eli Clare to campus for a pair of events on Tuesday, March 7.

Clare is the author of Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure, Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation and a collection of poetry, The Marrow's Telling: Words in Motion, and has been published in many periodicals and anthologies. Eli speaks, teaches, and facilitates all over the United States and Canada at conferences, community events, and colleges about disability, queer and trans identities, and social justice. 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. 

Clare uses memoir, history, and critical analysis to explore cure — the deeply held belief that body-minds considered broken need to be fixed. Cure serves many purposes. It saves lives, manipulates lives, and prioritizes some lives over others. It provides comfort, makes profits, justifies violence, and promises resolution to body-mind loss. Clare grapples with this knot of contradictions, maintaining that neither an anti-cure politics nor a pro-cure worldview can account for the messy, complex relationships we have with our body-minds. The stories he tells range widely, stretching from disability stereotypes to weight loss surgery, gender transition to skin lightening creams. At each turn, Clare weaves race, disability, sexuality, class, and gender together, insisting on the non-negotiable value of body-mind difference. Into this mix, he adds environmental politics, thinking about ecosystem loss and restoration as a way of delving more deeply into cure. Ultimately Brilliant Imperfection reveals cure to be an ideology grounded in the twin notions of normal and natural, slippery and powerful, necessary and damaging all at the same time.  



Eli will read excerpts from Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure (Duke University Press, 2017) followed by informal discussion; Miller Hall 105.

4 p.m. — TEACH IN: “GAPING, GAWKING, STARING,” multimedia presentation and discussion; Science, Mathematics, Technology Education building (SL) 120