Does Reflexive Justice Adequately Address Problems of Postnational Legitimation?

In his piece, The Postnational Constellation and the Future of Democracy, Jürgen Habermas examines the effects of globalization on national democratic legitimation and reflects on the possibility of democratic processes beyond the nation-state. Habermas frames this discussion as the ‘opening’ of intersubjectively shared lifeworlds and he explores the possibilities of ‘closure’. Nancy Fraser, in her book, Scales of Justice: Reimagining Political Space in a Globalizing World, proposes a solution to this discourse of opening and closure in the form of reflexive justice. I have certain reservations concerning the ability of reflexive justice to adequately deal with problems of closure that Habermas elaborates, specifically concerning the generation of civic solidarity for the legitimation of postnational institutions. However, before I turn to this evaluation, I want to briefly outline Habermas’ discourse of opening and closure as well as Fraser’s concept of reflexive justice. Continue reading

Mickalene Thomas: Explorations of Blackness and Femininity

Mickalene Thomas was born in Camden, NJ in 1971. She earned a BA in Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute in 200 and a MA in Fine Arts from Yale University 2002 (Mickalene Thomas, 2018). Thomas is known for her use of rhinestones, colorful acrylics, and collage in her works to explore themes of blackness and femininity. In this piece, I undertake a formal and iconographic analysis of three of Thomas’s works: Afro Goddess Looking Forward (2015), Left Behind #2 (2014), and Raquel: I See You (2018). These pieces share common formal element as well as thematic elements that I will explore in greater depth in the following sections.

Afro Goddess Looking Forward (2015)

     This work uses rhinestones, acrylic, and oil on a wood panel. The work depicts an unidentified African-American woman resting on a couch indoors. The background consists of a collage of different multi colored acrylic prints segmented into approximations of different geometric shapes including rectangles, squares, and triangles. In the upper left corner, a green textured flower is painted. The visual focus of the piece is the women reclined in the middle of the work. She is wearing a colorful print robe and has Afro style hair. The hair of the women is created using sparkling black rhinestones and her eyes are a printed image of a photograph of eyes. The photographed eyes stare out from the painting seemingly directly at and almost through the viewer creating both a sense of intimacy and distance. Continue reading