Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure
Eli Clare is a poet, essayist, activist, and the author of Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation, also published by Duke University Press, and The Marrow's Telling: Words in Motion. He speaks regularly at conferences, community events, and colleges across the United States and Canada about disability, queer and trans identities, and social justice, and his writing has appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies. Clare lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and can be found online at www.eliclare.com.
At the Center of Cure
This section chronicles some far-reaching results of the ideology of cure. It includes a retelling of the life of Carrie Buck, the poor white woman at the center of the Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, which ruled state-mandated, involuntary sterilization to be constitutional. This retelling examines the political fabrication of feebleminded. The section then turns to the ways in which case files can be dehumanizing, exploring those dynamics at Oregon’s Fairview Hospital and Training Center and Michigan’s Ionia State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Then the analysis moves to the word and concept monkey and how it has been used to dehumanize people of color (both disabled and nondisabled) and white disabled people. Finally, this theme of dehumanizing is brought to bear on schizophrenia as the author places his personal encounters with that diagnosis in the context of its racialized, classed, and gendered history.