Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
The cultural performance of textile graffiti, or yarnbombing, dramatizes women’s contested relationship to the public/privates dichotomies that constitute neoliberal capitalism as well as liberal democracies. Across both of these institutions, privatized matters are problematically excluded from political consideration, and private sphere values—such are nurturance, interdependence, and communalism—are denied their necessity and legitimacy as public goods. Textile graffiti artists furnish an association between public and private life by placing signifiers of domesticity and caregiving onto the public streets, and adorning those nurturant signifiers with political and/or feminist messages. In so doing, textile graffiti functions to politicize caregiving, to highlight its gendered dimensions, and to remind city-goers of caregiving as a public issue and a public good that is necessary to the overall health of a functioning liberal democracy. This study explores textile graffiti from various political, aesthetic, and historical angles in order to situate it within an enduring feminist struggle to re-imagine public/private binaries through valorization of the artifacts, values, and communicative practices that are associated with the private sphere of the home.
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