Abstract

The emerging genre of autotheory has been tied to a longer lineage of feminist and queer writing. Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto (1967) forms an important context for contemporary autotheoretical practices not only as an influence but also as a cautionary tale. Published in 1967, just one year before its author shot Andy Warhol, the SCUM Manifesto was quickly overdetermined by readings that saw the shooting as a fulfillment of the manifesto’s vision, rewriting the manifesto as a kind of autotheory-in-reverse. Tracing SCUM’s afterlife in a range of cultural texts, including riot grrrl zines and Andrea Long Chu’s autotheoretical work Females (2019), reveals consistent anxieties about the relationship between the manifesto and the shooting. As a parallel cultural formation arising alongside autotheory, SCUM’s afterlife shows how anxieties about interpretation drive the autotheoretical impulse.

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