Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Peter F. Korsching


This case study of The Clothesline Project extends the theories of James C. Scott in Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts to gender domination and resistance. It demonstrates how communication encoded in a women's folk medium comprises a hidden transcript of subordinate political discourse that refutes official and popular notions about gendered violence and female subordination. It also demonstrates how this folk medium disguises the identity of those who participate in the Clothesline Project so the transcript of their experiences can be publicly revealed with reduced risk of violence and retribution. By providing a sequestered physical and discursive space in which women are free to privately articulate their experiences of violence without censure or threat, The Clothesline Project nurtures and nourishes the hidden transcript. At the same time, it provides a forum for the public articulation of the political discourse contained therein. Accumulated in textual, imagistic, and symbolic forms, the initially concealed testimonies of women first insinuate, and then thrust, themselves into the public forum where they interrupt prevailing discourses about gender relations, negate the dominant discourses about violence against women, and challenge the public transcript. The threatened hegemony of dominant discourse, including the silence that enshrouds gendered violence, are refuted by an emerging public testimony of thousands of women who have been battered, raped, sexually molested, abused and terrorized, as well as by the concurrent testimony of thousands of their allies. Each testimony is communicated through public displays of Clothesline shirts. As a collective cultural product, The Clothesline Project is a vehicle for individual empowerment, a potent instrument of ideological insubordination, and a tool of praxis--action toward transformation and collective social change;This research demonstrates how a hidden transcript is generated, elaborated, and publicly declared under the most severe forms of gender domination--gendered violence, including murder, battering, rape and sexual assault, incest and childhood sexual abuse, and lesbian-bashing. Shirt designs and texts, along with other discursive elements of the Clothesline, challenge hegemonic discourse about violence against women. Material and symbolic aspects of the body, clothing, and women's work are used to express resistance to patriarchal hegemony and female subordination. The Clothesline Project, as an example of women's expressive culture, uses art, ritual, and folklore practices to resist gender domination.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Patricia Coral Hipple



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

289 pages