Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2022

Document Type


Degree Name


Honors Designation


Program of Study

Arts Administration



First Advisor

Gail Levin

Second Advisor

Mar Morosse

Third Advisor

Vincent DiGirolamo


This paper serves to investigate the relationship between the Dada art movement of the early twentieth century and the progression of the women’s liberation movement through the life and works of female Dada artists Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Beatrice Wood. My thesis combines the emergence of modernism and Dada’s utilization of new industrial materials with the reappropriation of material significance seen in Taeuber-Arp’s multi-media work. The first section “Dada Overview” contextualizes both Dada and the post-Victorian evolution of the early twentieth century. In “Beatrice Wood’s Expansion of the Subject” I show how Wood’s work centered around the subconscious narrative of women and how Dada fostered this emerging subject. “Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s Expansion of Medium” then shows how the materials that were previously associated with women due to their historically domesticated usage were reconfigured using modern design aesthetics. This expansion of medium is elaborated in “Expansion of Medium: Fashion”, wherein I contextualize the history of fashion and pattern and their relation to women’s creative expression. Then in “Gender as Performance”, the topic of women’s expression is brought back to Dada with its origins in performance art and analyzing the idea of gender itself. This paper contributes to the dialogue of Feminism studies, Art History studies, and American History studies.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.