Freshman Seminars Spring 2005

Learning How to Sleep in Japand Elsewhere: Social and Cultural Anthropology of Sleep
Brigitte Steger, Mellon Fellow in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Everybody sleeps, naturally so. However, sleep is also one of the first things that babies are trained to do in a certain way and according to a certain schedule. In Euro-American families, children from early onwards usually have a bed, and even a room of their own. They have to get used to a certain sleep-wake rhythm. Some experts tell young mothers to put their children to bed, say firmly good night, and not to take them out if they’d cry or even vomit during the night. Japanese mothers would be horrified by such advice, having their children for several years sleep next to them regardless of the children’s having rooms of their own, in order to provide comfort as well as a feeling of belonging and security. People also acquire certain sleep rituals and all kinds of habits and beliefs in relation to sleep.
In this seminar we will discuss a variety of issues related to sleeping arrangements in contemporary Japan as compared to those in other countries. We will take an interdisciplinary approach, but focus on cultural and social anthropology. Methods will include writing and analyzing sleep diaries, narrative interviews and analysis of newspaper articles and tv programs. Topics discussed include sleep-night schedules, siesta, napping, daytime sleep in day-care centers, sleeping arrangements in families and institutions, sleep of the homeless, bedding, bed-time rituals etc. After an introduction to some of the questions and possible approaches to the field, students will be required to develop their own research project and write a seminar paper.
(Distribution I: Society)
AMES 183.301 | Monday & Wednesday | 3:00 – 4:30

Literati Arts of East Asia
Frank Chance, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology
Though many Americans know the cultures of China, Korea and Japan through military and romantic images such as those of The Last Samurai, there is a long history of literature and of art related to the creators of literature in East Asia. The practice of calligraphy as a visual art and of poetry as a literary form have in fact dominated the cultural history of this large segment of the world’s population. Using primary texts in translation, this freshman seminar will explore the complex relationship between poets and painters, intellectual creators and visual artists, over the history of China, Japan and to a lesser extent Korea, from the beginnings of the civil bureaucracy in China in the first century through the rise of women as literati artists in Japan in the nineteenth century. Students will develop analytic skills through discussion and investigation of written texts, composed prose and poems and painted representations; they will become familiar with a variety of visual artists and forms as well as with the broad sweep of East Asian history. Background in Asian languages and cultures is not required. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
AMES 188.301 | Monday & Wednesday | 3:00 – 4:30

Culture Clash
Paula Sabloff, Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology
This course is designed to introduce students to the connection between anthropology, philosophy and personal experience. Starting from the anthropological position that many of the social problems of our time are the result of conflict between or within cultures, we will read anthropological accounts—ethnographies—of problems such as globalization, cultural survival, class and ethnic conflict. We will also read the political philosophers, from Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith to Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu, quoted by the anthropologists. In this seminar, students will form their own social theory by integrating the readings with first-hand experience in the West Philadelphia community as they perform community service. In this abcs course (Academically Based Community Service), students will turn their personal experience into an anthropology practicum, seeing social theory and anthropology operating “on the ground”. (Distribution i: Society)
ANTH 115.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 – 3:00

Development Debate in South Asia
Gautam Ghosh, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
There has been a great deal of discussion, of late, about civilization and attacks
upon it. This course examines the meaning of “civilization” and “progress” by way of:
1) classical sources in social thought, 2) pivotal issues in contemporary cultural anthropology and 3) materials related to India. The course demands close readings of (at times) dense texts, class presentations and papers. The class format combines discussion with lectures. (Distribution I: Society)
ANTH 137.401 or SAST 137.401 | Thursday | 1:30 – 4:30

Architecture Today
Witold Rybczynski, Director, Real Estate Design and Development, Martin and
Margy Meyerson, Professor of Urbanism, Professor of Real Estate

Rafael Viñoly’s Kimmel Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia is not at all like Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Why do buildings by different architects look so different? In addition to site, surroundings, function and construction, architecture is affected by architectural ideas. In other words, different architects are trying to solve different aesthetic problems. The seminar will introduce you to several trends in contemporary design, such as postmodernism, neotraditionalism and deconstructivism, and help you to look at and understand architects’ intentions. We will discuss the different ways that buildings appeal to us and why there are such a variety of styles today. There will be a couple of field trips to visit local buildings. Selected readings will form the basis for four essay assignments. This is a Writing Across the University course (watu). (Distribution I: Society)
ARCH 102.301 | Monday & Wednesday | 2:00 – 3:30

Renaissance Portraits
Maria Ruvoldt, Mellon Fellow in History of Art
Is a picture really worth a thousand words? What can the record of a person’s physical appearance tell us about his or her character? During the Italian Renaissance, portraits were test-cases of artistic skill, tools in marriage negotiations and vehicles for the expression of friendship. They were exchanged between princes and humanists, while writers and artists sought to outdo each other, creating pictures that defied description or verbal portraits whose effects could never be realized in paint or stone. This class will consider the role of portraiture in defining, communicating and preserving individual identity. Examining the concepts of “portrait” and “self-fashioning” in both the literary and visual spheres, we will read such texts as Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier and look at images as familiar as Leonardo’s Mona Lisa and as obscure as the portrait medals of Renaissance poets. We will define what constitutes a portrait and ask how the visual codes of the past can be interpreted by modern viewers. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
ARTH 100.301 | Tuesday | 3:00 – 6:00

Delights Unseen: The Image of Heaven in Late Antique and Medieval Art
Warren Woodfin, Mellon Fellow in History of Art
While the conventional image of heaven today may be the clouds and pearly gates of cartoons in the New Yorker, numerous competing pictures of the state of the blessed circulated in medieval theology and imagery. The depiction of the promised rewards of believers was an important tool in the winning and encouragement of the faithful and formed part of the first art of the Church. The central problem, of course, was depicting what no human eye had seen. Through dreams and visions, saints and mystics helped give concrete form to a realm beyond lived experience—even, on occasion, bringing back actual fruits of paradise. Art, in turn, became a tool for articulating or reconciling competing theologies of the afterlife, its punishments and pleasures. This course will examine the evidence of art and architecture from the third century c.e. to the late Middle Ages together with medieval writings that claim to describe the landscape of the afterlife. Through text and image, we may hope to catch a glimpse into the changing imagination and aspirations of medieval Christian culture. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
ARTH 100.302 | Monday & Wednesday | 3:00 – 4:30

Spiegel Freshman Seminar
Environmental Art
Rebecca Butterfield, Lecturer in History of Art
Over the last 40 years, a number of artists have rebelled against what they saw as the stultifying limitations of the museum/gallery complex. They were disgusted by the idea of the art object as just another luxury commodity whose only function was to decorate private homes or public plazas. Instead, they created art that transforms existing natural or cultural sites into new and extraordinary environments, often designed to engage the total body rather than the eye alone. We will consider a wide range of environmental art, including massive earthworks (such as James Turrell’s reshaping of a dormant volcano into a celestial observatory), museum installations (Yves Klein’s notorious exhibition of The Void and sale of “immaterial” paintings), sensory chambers (Yayoi Kusama’s wonderlands of twinkling lights), ritualistic performance pieces (Ana Mendieta’s photographs of her nude body in various landscapes) and monuments designed for public spaces (Maya Lin’s controversial Vietnam War Memorial and Richard Serra’s infamous Tilted Arc). The artists’ goals are as various as their methods: to reintroduce a spiritual dimension into an increasingly market-driven art world, to critique contemporary beliefs and practices, to explore the limits of perception or to memorialize past events. We will examine the purpose and function of specific environmental works and their reception by various audiences. Most importantly, we will analyze how each work’s style, forms, materials, construction techniques and locations convey meanings to their various audiences. Lectures, readings and discussions will be supplemented with visits to specific sites, including a trip to New York City to see Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Gates project in Central Park. Course requirements include oral presentations, several short papers and one longer paper. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
ARTH 100.303 | Thursday | 1:30 – 4:30

Spiegel Freshman Seminar
Accumulated Vision, Barry Le Va
Ingrid Schaffner, Senior Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art
This seminar is being held in conjunction with a major exhibition organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, surveying the art of Barry Le Va. Since the late 1960s, this highly influential American artist has used broken glass, meat cleavers, wool felt, ball bearings, powdered chalk, cast concrete, paper towels, linseed oil, a typewriter and a gun, among other things, to make his work. Part of a generation intent on knocking art off its pedestal, Le Va claimed the floor as his field of operations by scattering massive amounts of materials, or forms, to create works which he called “distributions.” He has likened these installations to crime scenes and invites viewers to look for clues to reconstruct the often violent act or concept that underlies them. Following this lead, the seminar will track the art of Barry Le Va through major movements of Postmodern art up into the present, where its impact on younger artists is everywhere in evidence. At the same time, students will be expected to investigate other contexts suggested by the work. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
ARTH 100.304 | Tuesday | 1:30 – 4:30

Structural Biology and Genomics
Ponzy Lu, Professor of Chemistry
Structural biology is the scientific method of describing, predicting and changing the properties of living organisms, including humans, based on complete genome structures and 3-dimensional structures of cellular components. It is a direct outgrowth of the intellectual and technical revolutions that occurred during the last decade. It has become a most powerful approach to understanding biology and solving problems in medicine.
We will discuss how macroscopic biological properties, such as reproduction, locomotion and viral infection, are determined by chemical properties of proteins and nucleic acids. Changes in biological function, such as those that accompany hereditary diseases like cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia, result from minute changes in individual proteins. Much larger changes in genome and protein structure are often tolerated without apparent consequence. This selectivity and tolerance provides opportunities for the biotechnology industry to alter biological functions in ways thought to guarantee profits. We will also examine how research results in structural biology are presented in various audiences. The broad range of medical, social and political problems associated with the advances will be considered. We will attempt to distinguish real progress from fads and fashion.
This is a two-semester seminar that continues from fall 2004 with 0.5 credit unit each semester. Students completing both fall and spring semesters will receive credit for a Writing Across the University course (watu). (General Requirement VI: Physical World)
CHEM 022.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 8:00 – 9:00

In the City of Dreams
Eleni Kefala, Mellon Fellow in Comparative Literature
This seminar examines sleep and dreams in important works of Western literature. In Homer’s Odyssey, for example, three normally separate orders of beings converge in dreams: humans, gods and the dead. Further, for Homer, dreams and reality are parallel planes. But if we jump a few millennia forward to the postmodern tales of Jorge Luis Borges, dreams and reality are indistinguishable, in as much as reality is merely the dream of a “god,” the poet, who continually makes and unmakes it with his words. Dreamed reality is the World. In this seminar we will study the meaning and function of dreams in the Odyssey, Borges’s fictions and many fascinating works in between. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
COML 011.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 – 4:30

The Journey in Literature
David Espey, Associate Undergraduate Chair of English
The representation of life as a journey is one of the most familiar metaphors in literature. This seminar will explore the theme of travel in fiction, poetry, essays and film. We’ll consider various motives for travel—escape, rebellion, adventure, rite of passage, romance, war, tourism, exile, immigration, search for meaning and discovery. We’ll also examine how travel shapes one’s understanding of the foreign as well as one’s own identity and sense of home. The readings will contrast a variety of journeys, cultures and places—from the u.s. to Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. We’ll compare the travel experiences of such different writers as Joseph Conrad, Richard Wright, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Graham Greene, Margaret Atwood, James Baldwin, Jack Kerouac, Chang Rae Lee, Maya Angelou, v.s. Naipaul and Annie Dillard. There will be frequent short writing assignments and several longer papers that may be revised. In addition to literary analysis and argument, there will also be opportunities for autobiographical and narrative writing and film criticism. (Writing seminar. Fulfills the Writing Requirement)
ENGL 002.303 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 – 12:00

In Pursuit of Originality
Paul Fierlinger, Lecturer in Fine Arts
On the assumption that the pursuit of creating original art is an inherited, natural desire, resting within our genes, this seminar challenges students to explore our appetite for originality and how to prepare oneself for the chase. However, one might also want to assume that the capacity to create something unique comes as a selective gift of nature (God?). In any case, if we want to assume that original thoughts and objects may be fashioned at will, we might want to acknowledge such an assumption with a measure of responsibility. Children cannot create original art—one has to develop a worldview through experience and knowledge, which arrives only with maturity. Thus we conclude the seminar with a brief exploration of the stages of life according to Jung.
Throughout this seminar, students will be required to take notes of their impressions and imaginations and these should be recorded in both written and pictorial form. An effort to pursue originality is the key. By the end of all fifteen sessions, each student should have a unique “book” comprised of their interpretation of ideas, freshly received from the entire class.
FNAR 002.301 | Wednesday | 1:00 – 4:00

Perspectives in French Literature
Gerry Prince, Professor of French
This basic course in literature provides an overview of French literature and acquaints students with major literary trends and forms through the study of representative works from the Middle Ages to the present. French 222 has as its theme “The Individual and Society.” Readings and class discussion are in French. (General Requirement III: Arts and Letters)
FREN 222.303 | Monday, Wednesday & Friday | 11:00 – 12:00

Freshman Recitation
Yvette Bordeaux, Associate Director in Earth and Environmental Science
Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water. This course will explore the composition, structure, motions and effects of ocean water and the ocean bottom, including seafloor spreading and continental drift. We will also investigate marine biology and geology and ocean resources. Students will participate in web-based recitations that use real-time data to solve contemporary quantitative problems. Students must register for both the lecture and a recitation. The recitation listed below is restricted to freshmen and is led by Professor Bordeaux. (General Requirement VI: Physical World)
GEOL 130.001 (lec) | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 – 3:00
GEOL 130.201 (rec) | Tuesday | 3:00 – 4:00

My Angel Made Me Do It
Karl Otto, Professor Emeritus of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Angels, angels, angels—they are everywhere these days. You’ve seen them on tv (Touched by an Angel) and in films (e.g. Dogma). What are they? Do they exist? Who are they? Why do some people think they have one? Good angels? Bad angels? We will explore angels from artistic, literary, theological and cultural perspectives. We will read and discuss, in English, some works of Rilke, Goethe, Fuentes, Marlowe, Benjamin, France, Brown and others; we’ll view and discuss Wings of Desire and other films (depending on availability). We will consider the Jewish, the Christian, the Mormon and the Moslem perspectives and views.
This seminar will be held in Hill College House. Enrollment preference will be given to freshman residents of the house. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
GRMN 012.301 | Wednesday | 3:00 – 6:00

Literature of Dissent
Benjamin Nathans, Associate Professor of History
Can the pen really be mightier than the sword? What kind of people dare to speak truth to power, and what arguments and values do they employ? In this seminar we will study some of the classic literature of dissent, including biblical prophecy, ancient Greek critiques of democracy, the Protestant Reformation, the revolutionary Enlightenment, Marxism, and dissident movements of the twentieth century in the United States, the Soviet Union and China. We will also touch upon recent controversies involving limitations on freedom of speech on college campuses, including Penn. Across this broad spectrum we will be concerned with the intellectual strategies of resistance to systems of power perceived as illegitimate or unjust, and with the power of the word in political and public life. By analyzing how the desire for fundamental change has been articulated in a variety of historical contexts, we will sharpen our skills in critical reading, discussion and writing. (Distribution II: History and Tradition)
HIST 102.301 | Monday & Wednesday | 3:00 – 4:30

History and Human Nature
Michael Zuckerman, Professor of History
A consideration of the nature of man, with primary emphasis on the question of history: is human nature best understood as constant or contingent, stable or changeful with time and circumstance? (Distribution II: History and Tradition)
HIST 104.301 | Wednesday | 2:00 – 5:00

Listening to Literature: Sound and Music in the Literary Work
David Copenhafer, Mellon Fellow in Music
We often forget that writing represents not just the visible world but the audible world as well. In this course we will investigate the acoustic dimension of literature—the voices, music and noise that make up a literary work. Students will be introduced to the role of music and sound in a wide variety of modern European and American writings; they will also begin to understand the connection between literature and some of the other arts, especially music, drama and cinema. Students will produce at least one audio project—an acoustic version of a scene from our reading. No prior experience with either music or audio technology is required. Readings will include texts by Balzac, Beckett, Ellison, Kafka, Marker, Melville and Poe. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
MUSC 016.401 or COML 016.401 | Monday, Wednesday & Friday | 1:00 – 2:00

Introduction to Philosophy
Lecturer in Philosophy
An introduction to such topics as: our knowledge of the material world, the relation of mind and body, the existence of God, and the nature of morality. Readings from both historical and contemporary sources.(General Requirement II: History and Tradition)
PHIL 001.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 – 4:30
PHIL 001.302 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 – 12:00
PHIL 001.303 | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 – 3:00
PHIL 001.304 | Tuesday & Thursday | 9:00 – 10:30

Susan Meyer, Associate Professor of Philosophy
An investigation of some of the central questions about the nature of morality: Are moral judgments objective and justifiable? Can moral disagreements be resolved rationally? How are we to understand the idea of a good life, and what is the relationship between a good life and morality? Readings will be from both contemporary and historical sources, and will concern both practical problems (e.g. abortion, euthanasia or resource conservation) and theoretical issues. (General Requirement I: Society)
PHIL 002.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 – 12:00

Honors Physics II: Electromagnetism and Radiation
Paul Heiney, Professor of Physics and Astronomy
This course parallels and extends the content of Physics 151 at a somewhat higher mathematical level. It is the second semester of a small-section two-semester sequence for well-prepared students in engineering and the physical sciences, and particularly for those planning to major in physics. Topics will include electric and magnetic fields; Coulomb’s, Ampere’s and Faraday’s laws, Maxwell’s equation, emission, propagation and absorption of electromagnetic radiation, and geometrical and physical optics. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Physics 170 or permission of the instructor. Students must register for the lecture and the lab. This is a Benjamin Franklin honors seminar. (General Requirement VI : Physical World)
PHYS 171.301 (lec) | Monday, Wednesday & Friday | 10:00 – 11:00
Monday 2:00 – 3:00 | Thursday | 5:00 – 6:00
PHYS 171.302 (lab) | Wednesday | 1:00 – 3:00

Political Freedom
Andrew Norris, Assistant Professor of Political Science
What does it mean to be free? What are freedom’s metaphysical and practical preconditions? Is freedom something that individuals can enjoy in private, or something that requires a vibrant public life? Has the idea of freedom evolved with our cultural, economic and industrial life? How do the modern media affect the freedom of our choices? Is freedom simply the absence of external constraint, or are there criteria internal to the idea of freedom? This course will address these and other central questions in the political philosophy of freedom. The readings and the discussions in our small group will demand a lot from every participant. But the theme should prove as engaging as it is important to a group of people most of whom have only recently left home for the freedom of the university. What sort of freedom that is will, of course, also be open to question. (Distribution I: Society)
PSCI 010.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 – 12:00

Issues in American Democracy
Henry Teune, Professor of Political Science
The main issues facing the u.s. in the democratic development of its political system are the content of this seminar. Most of these are inherent in the constitutional structures of federalism, divided national political authority and limits on government. Others derive directly from social and economic changes, now global in scale. These changes challenge the traditional democratic liberties and practices of the u.s. as well as its aspiration for a democratic world order. All established democracies confront declining voting participation, increased distrust in government, transforming economies and rising insecurities from global terrorism. We will explore the dynamics of these issues through country comparisons.
The topics include distemper with authority, political participation, inequality, the place of the u.s. in the world, cross-generational obligations, the integrity of American culture and national security. The seminar will be divided into task forces that will take positions on issues for discussion. Written assignments are short position papers for presentation to the seminar, a longer research paper and two final essays. (Distribution I: Society)
PSCI 010.302 | Monday | 2:00 – 5:00

Religion in Public Life
Stephen Dunning, Professor of Religious Studies
This seminar is an introduction to several aspects of the hotly-debated relation between religion and public life in America.
The topics on which we will focus include:
The role of the media in its coverage of religion issues.
The phenomenon of religious “outsiders” in American history.
The interpretations of the religion clauses of the Bill of Rights.
The responsibilities of public school teachers and administrators.
The challenge posed by religious diversity in America.
The question of religious gestures performed in public settings.
Requirements: Participation in class discussions; weekly interpretive questions
(150 words maximum) about the reading; and two papers, each about 10 pages
(3000 words). (Distribution I: Society)
RELS 010.301 | Monday | 2:00 – 5:00

Dreams and Nightmares in Fiction and Film
Sharon Allen, Mellon Fellow in Comparative Literature
This course is devoted to some of the most exciting modern films and novels from Latin America, Russia and Europe—dreams and nightmares that allow us to comprehend the “underground” of human experience. Our approach will be comparative, considering literary works in the context of film and the other arts, with special emphasis on several directors who laid the foundations of modern film: Fritz Lang, Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein.
Topics of discussion will include: creativity, deviant behavior, cultural dialogue, dissent, “delirious” modern cities (St. Petersburg, Prague, Rio de Janiero) and death.
We will study works by Dostoevsky, Gogol, Kafka, Proust, Lispector, Machado de Assis, Mario de Andrade, Saramago, Petrushevskaia, Pelevin and others. All readings and lectures will be in English. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
RUSS 185.401 or COML 185.401 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 – 4:30

Material Culture of South Asia
Srilata Gangulee, Assistant Dean, The College
South Asia has been described as a palimpsest of many cultures and languages as well as a land of a million mutinies. Material bases of any culture rest on its idea of itself, its innovations, what it produces, consumes, its ideas of social organization and political governance. In this course we shall examine the material bases of South Asian culture, its mode of production, consumption and distribution of surplus product and how over the last five thousand years, the ideas behind these modes have been put forward, contested and negotiated for acceptance. Some ideas have come from emigration and immigration, some from invasion and some simply have sprung up. We will begin by looking at the early Indian materiality in language, technology, spatial analysis of towns and weights and measures. We will go on to the rituals and materiality of the Indo-Aryans, the political thought that evolved and then to the scientific thinking and technological innovations, then to the Grand Mughals, the European colonial period, Nehru’s independent India and end with the present. There are no prerequisites for this course. The students will be given a bulkpack of readings and are required to write four response papers and a final paper. The response papers will carry 60%, one final paper 30% and class participation 10% of the final grade. (Distribution II: History and Tradition)
SAST | Tuesday & Thursday | 2:00 – 3:30

Introduction to Acting
Rose Malague, Senior Lecturer in English and Theatre Arts
Acting “looks” easy. Audiences see actors portraying characters, but often remain unaware of the intellectual, emotional, physical, and technical skills required to create vivid theatrical behavior. What makes an actor effective? This course is an introduction to acting theory and practice, with primary emphasis on Stanislavsky-based techniques. Combining practical experience (exercises, improvisations, scene work) with intellectual exploration (theoretical readings, script analysis, writing assignments), the class culminates in the performance of a scene from the modern repertoire. Introduction to Acting also serves as an ideal introduction to the practical aspects of Penn’s theatre arts major, with guest artists/teachers and trips to theatrical productions. Students considering a theatre major are especially encouraged to enroll. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
THAR 120.302 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 – 12:00

Crime and Punishment
Eric Schneider, Adjunct Associate Professor of History
How have definitions of crime and forms of punishment changed over time? What have been the uses and legacy of extra-legal violence? How have the forms of crime and punishment reflected the structure of American Society? Using both historical and contemporary texts, this seminar will explore these and other questions, and in the process analyze the development of juvenile justice, the organization of corrections, the application of the death penalty and the rise of the drug economy. This is a Communication Within the Curriculum course (CWiC). (Distribution II: History and Tradition)
URBS 110.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 – 4:30

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