The purpose of the laboratory is to provide a space for interdisciplinary thought and research focused on developing new analytical perspectives addressing the gender reality in its new and ongoing configurations.
The project's starting hypothesis is that the concepts that stood at the basis of the idea of the liberal (and feminist) political subject, such as liberty, choice and equality – as well as the concept of agency, and the assumptions as to the ways social power shapes subjectivity, which informed second- and third-wave feminist thought – are unable to describe the complex current reality of social power relations, or facilitate political action. Therefore, new theoretical tools are needed to provide a complex perspective on different arenas of the gender reality, that come from listening to the way that women (and other genders) shape their subjectivity within social institutions and spheres, while maintaining critical insights about the contemporary gendered social arrangements.
The different projects within the laboratory seek to create theoretical frameworks for examining how gender currently shapes an active subject in different social arenas, and which forces and social arrangements shape that active subjectivity. In this framework the laboratory seeks also to examine the place and nature of feminist criticism, its different forms, and its ability to serve as a basis for collective organization and the crystallization of political knowledge and action.
The laboratory has been operating at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute since 2018, with research activities as well as activities for the general public, including: A workshop for researchers, “Thinking Feminism;” A lecture by Prof. Eva Feder Kittay, “Refocusing Justice on Care;” a symposium, "Feminism in the Time of Coronavirus: Emotion, Politics, Action," and a series of videos with researchers – “Feminist Thoughts on After the Pandemic.”