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Composite image of book cover for Justice in the Age of Agnosis Socio-legal explorations of denial, deception and doubt edited by James Gacek and Richard Jochelson published by Palgrave Springer. Followed by photos left to right of Richard Jochelson and James Gacek.

Justice in the Age of Agnosis is a new book edited by Dr. Richard Jochelson, Dean of Law at the University of Manitoba (photo by Dr. Amar Khoday), and Dr. James Gacek, Associate Professor in the Department of Justice Studies at the University of Regina.

Justice in the Age of Agnosis examines sources of oppression and the role of ignorance

UM Faculty of Law scholars’ work featured in new book

A new book edited by the UM Faculty of Law’s dean, Dr. Richard Jochelson, with University of Regina Department of Justice colleague Dr. James Gacek, examines sources of oppression and the role of ignorance and where it might stem from. The book titled Justice in the Age of Agnosis: Socio-Legal Explorations of Denial, Deception, and Doubt, was published by Springer as part of the Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies book series, and includes chapters written by five other legal scholars affiliated with the Robson Hall-based law faculty.

In seeking to further the understanding of the human experience of coerced and forced ignorance on social, human rights and criminal justice related topics, the editors of this book have drawn together scholars from multiple disciplinary fronts. As a whole, the book argues that people in our social world are forced or coerced through either implicatory or interpretive denial that is normalized through specific cultural and social mechanisms by which we refer to as non-knowledge or agnosis.

This book’s focus fills a gap in scholarship examining how human victimization and power intersect through the systematic orchestration of forced ignorance and doubt upon daily human life. The chapters examine the ways in which people find themselves in social spaces without empirical clarity and understand that absence as satisfaction, stability, or perhaps even pleasure. This book seeks to make visible the role of ignorance in governing society, highlighting how the late modern human experience in a post-World War II human rights era subsumes, subverts, and sublimates the complex relationship between knowledge and denial; and that the empirical gulf between knowledge and resistance may indeed breed complicit bliss.

The book includes chapters written by other UM Faculty of Law affiliated scholars including: Assistant Professor Martine Dennie, author of “You Just Roll with the Punches”: The Production of Ignorance in Professional Ice Hockey”; Gacek and Jochelson with former Associate Professor David Ireland (now a Manitoba Provincial Court judge), co-authors of “Gone, but Not Forgotten: The Agnotological Necropolitics of Inquest Fatality Reports”; Shawn Singh [JD/2022] and Assistant Professor Brandon Trask, co-authors of “Faded by Design: Manufacturing Agnosis of Settler-Colonialism in an Era of Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation in Canada”; Dr. Katie Szilagyi, author of “Fragmenting Epistemologies: Toward Philosophical Foundations for Machine Learning in Law”; and finally Shawn Singh and Brandon Trask individually with papers titled “Shortfalls of the Bioethical Approach to COVID-19: Vaccine Hesitancy, the Right to Choose and Public Health Management in Canada” (Singh); and “Call It Democracy: The Slippage Amongst Rights, Laws, and Values in Canada During the Pandemic Era” (Trask).

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