Professor Elizabeth A. Wilson presents her new research on Valerie Solanas, pathologization and feminism.
At some point in 1976 or 1977, a few years after her release from the Matteawan Hospital for the Criminally Insane, Valerie Solanas went to the New York Public Library, located a copy of the SCUM Manifesto, and defaced it. She scratched out her name on the cover with such violence that the imprint of that erasure can be seen on the following three pages.
This paper reads the violence of Solanas’s vandalism in the context of feminism and intensely negative affects. I argue that the SCUM Manifesto, usually considered a treatise on gender, can also be read as a theory of mind. In an interview in 1977, Valerie Solanas disputes the idea that her manifesto refers to an actual organization or political group.
Rather, she says, “I thought of it [SCUM] as a state of mind” (Village Voice, July 5, 1977). I also consider how this reading complicates the status of the manifesto as a canonical feminist text. Feminists have had difficulty engaging the destructive states of mind that Solanas lays bare.
The de-pathologizing tendencies in feminist scholarship under-read and overlook the negative states of mind that Solanas brings to our attention. Despite longstanding reservations about pathologization, the psychopathology of Solanas’s work and world is precisely what feminists need to lean in to hear.
Prof Stuart Hall Building LG01 5pm - 7pm. We will screen the zoom presentation.
Zoom Meeting ID: 930 6188 6475, passcode: 799338
Dates & times
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|27 Oct 2022||5:00pm - 7:00pm|
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