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Courses

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

BLST 0101 - Introduction to Black Studies      

Introduction to Black Studies
This course considers the issues, epistemologies, and political investments central to Black Studies as a field. We will explore chronologically, thematically, and with an interdisciplinary lens the social forces and ideas that have shaped the individual and collective experiences of African-descended peoples throughout the African Diaspora. This course is a broad survey of the history of chattel slavery, colonial encounters, community life, and social institutions of black Americans. We will address issues of gender and class; the role of social movements in struggles for liberation; and various genres of black expressive cultures. Students will develop critical tools, frameworks, and vocabulary for further study in the field. Course materials may include Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies, C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins, and Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. 3 hrs. lect. AAL AMR HIS SOC

Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

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BLST 0107 - Black Freedom Struggles      

Black Freedom Struggles
This course explores racial tensions of the present moment and situates them in the historical context of the ongoing struggles for Black freedom. Topics discussed may include Black reparations, Abolitionism, mass incarceration, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Civil Rights Movement. The primary mode of interaction will be synchronous online discussions. Students will do individual and group presentations, engage in debates, and write essays. Readings may include Coates’ The Case for Reparations, Kendi’s We're Still Living and Dying in the Slaveholder's Republic, Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, ; and Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and screenings may include “13th” and “Eyes on the Prize.”. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AMR NOR

Fall 2020

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BLST 0114 - History of Modern Africa      

History of Modern Africa
We begin looking at revolutions in the early 19th century and the transformations surrounding the slave trade. Next we examine the European colonization of the continent, exploring how diverse interventions into Africans' lives had complex effects on political authority, class and generational dynamics, gender relations, ethnic and cultural identities, and rural and urban livelihoods. After exploring Africans' struggles against colonial rule in day-to-day practices and mass political movements, the last few weeks cover Africa's transition to independence and the postcolonial era, including the experience of neo-colonialism, ethnic conflict, poverty, and demographic crisis. 2 hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc. AAL HIS SAF SOC

Spring 2020, Spring 2022

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BLST 0115 - Education in the USA      

Education in the USA
What are schools for? What makes education in a democracy unique? What counts as evidence of that uniqueness? What roles do schools play in educating citizens in a democracy for a democracy? In this course, we will engage these questions while investigating education as a social, cultural, political, and economic process. We will develop new understandings of current policy disputes regarding a broad range or educational issues by examining the familiar through different ideological and disciplinary lenses. 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. AMR NOR SOC

Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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BLST 0174 - Spacing      

Spacing
In this course we will investigate physical structures encountered daily. Buildings, parks, and infrastructure constitute this built environment, reflecting their societies. But what could abolitionist architecture look like, or how might public space in the U.S. create new social relations? Through lenses of race, class, and gender we will build critical vocabularies around the practice of making space. We will focus on the historical and contemporary embodiment of power, race, and culture of the U.S. through the built environment. This studio class will then present a series of projects addressing basic three-dimensional construction and model making techniques. We will engage historical and contemporary artworks, urban planning, architecture, and poetry from perspectives of resistance to dominant modes of constructing space. AMR ART SOC

Fall 2021

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BLST 0179 - Ruins and Rituals      

ART HIS

Spring 2022

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BLST 0212 - Race Racisms & the Visual      

Race, Racisms, and the Visual: African American Visual Cultures
In this course we will study visual cultures, performance, and digital media in relation to (anti-)Blackness and Black communities in the United States. We will pay particular attention to gendered and sexualized understandings of race and racisms within visual planes. An interdisciplinary and multimedia approach to the subject matter asks students to develop critical reading and engaged listening skills, as well as foster the ability to deploy critical thought in written, creative, and oral forms. Students should leave the course able to apply core concepts of Black visual studies into their academic work as well as their lives outside of the classroom. 3 hrs. lect. AMR ART NOR SOC

Fall 2021

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BLST 0215 - Culturally Responsive Pedagogy      

Culturally Responsive Policy and Pedagogy
Building on the work of Gloria Ladson-Billings’ culturally relevant pedagogy, Django Paris developed a theory of culturally sustaining pedagogy that “seeks to perpetuate and foster—to sustain linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism,” for students in schools (Paris, 2012). In this course we examine how teachers might sustain and support students in classrooms and how educational policy might better address and respond to the rich diversity in our schools and communities. This is a required course for all students seeking a Vermont teaching licensure. (EDST 0115) 3 hrs. lect. AMR CMP NOR SOC

Fall 2021

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BLST 0224 - African Cinema      

African Cinema
In this course we will examine how films written and directed by African filmmakers address the evolving identities of post-colonial Africans. Students will explore the development of various national cinemas and the film movements that helped define African cinema as a tool for cultural expression and social change. We will pair film studies, post-colonial studies, and African studies readings with a diverse selection of films from across sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal’s 1967 Black Girl (Ousmane Sembene) to the 2018 Netflix-produced Nigerian “Nollywood” film, Lionheart (Genevieve Nnaji). 3 hours lect./3 hours screen. AAL ART CMP HIS SAF

Fall 2020, Fall 2021

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BLST 0225 - African American History      

African American History
In this course we will examine the history of African Americans from the rise of the transatlantic slave trade to the present. The course will reveal how African Americans actively shaped their history and the history of the United States as an American nation. We will explore topics such as the Middle passage, African American slave cultures, enslaved resistance, emancipation, the rise of legalized segregation, mass migrations, and the continuing struggles for equality. We will approach the subject matter using a variety of primary and secondary sources that focus on the experiences of individuals such as enslaved narratives, autobiographies, documentaries, and oral histories. 3 hrs. lect/disc. AMR HIS NOR

Spring 2020, Fall 2021

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BLST 0227 - African American Cinema      

African American Cinema
In this course we will examine various representations of Blackness in American Cinema, from Oscar Micheaux’s early silent films to Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. While we will primarily focus on films written and/or directed by African-Americans, we will also study the social, cultural, and political impact of Hollywood ideas and images of Black people and how they changed over time. Through a framework of both film theory and critical race theory, students will analyze how Black creative expression has manifested itself through film, influencing both form and content. 3 hours lect./3 hours screen AMR ART HIS NOR

Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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BLST 0236 - African Soundscapes      

African Soundscapes
This course will introduce students to musical cultures and practices from the African continent with a focus on particular regional styles. Through readings, lectures, discussions, film screenings, listening sessions, concerts, and hands-on activities, we will develop skills for analyzing and appreciating the diversity of African musical practices and their social, economic, and political value in traditional and contemporary contexts. Some background in music may be necessary. 3 hrs. lect AAL ART SAF

Fall 2020

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BLST 0241 - Blackness & the Arab Imaginary      

Blackness and the Arab Imaginary (In English)
Blackness as a category of analysis in the Middle East and North Africa, while fundamental to opening the field to the study of race and the legacies of slavery, remains understudied and deserving of critical attention. In this course we will explore the historic and political category of “blackness” and examine how black identities are constructed in the cultural and epistemological production of the Arab world and the Arab Diaspora through literature, critical scholarship, music, and cinema. We will address imperial and transnational dimensions of blackness as well as its increasing relevance for understanding new racial configurations in the contemporary Middle East and the Arab Diaspora. 3 hrs. lect. MDE SOC

Fall 2021

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BLST 0252 - African American Literature      

African American Literature
This course surveys developments in African American fiction, drama, poetry, and essays during the 20th century. Reading texts in their social, historical, and cultural contexts—and often in conjunction with other African American art forms like music and visual art—we will explore the evolution and deployment of various visions of black being and black artistry, from the Harlem Renaissance through social realism and the Black Arts Movement, to the contemporary post-soul aesthetic. Authors may include Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka, Ishmael Reed, Toni Morrison, Charles Johnson, and Octavia Butler. This course may also be counted as a general elective or REC elective for the ENAM major. 3 hrs lect./disc. AMR LIT NOR

Fall 2021

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BLST 0259 - Re-Presenting Slavery      

Re-Presenting Slavery
In this course we will examine 20th century American portrayals of chattel slavery through creative works and situate them in their historical contexts. Working primarily with fiction (Oxherding Tale, Kindred, The Underground Railroad), film (Mandingo, Django Unchained, Twelve Years a Slave), television (Roots, Africans in America, Underground), and visual art (works by Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, and Kara Walker), we will evaluate how those various representations of the “Peculiar Institution” have changed, and/or have been changed, by the cultural moments in which they appeared. This course may also be counted as a general elective or REC elective for the ENAM major. 3 hrs lect. AMR ART HIS NOR

Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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BLST 0261 - Black German History      

Black German History
Although more than a million people in Germany identify as Black, Germany’s Black community and its history remain largely invisible in public discourse, historiography, and collective memory. In this course we will examine the history of Blacks in Germany from colonialism to the present. We will discuss early encounters of Africans with Germany, Germany’s brutal colonial ambitions, Black communities in early 20th century Germany and during National socialism, the histories of Black communities in East and West Germany after World War II (including their connections to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement), and the emergence of an Afro-German identity from the 1980s until today. EUR HIS

Spring 2022

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BLST 0288 - Modern Brazil      

Modern Brazil
Brazil is the Portuguese-speaking power of Latin America. In this course, we will study the history of modern Brazil from independence to the present day, and discuss the contemporary developments that have transformed Brazil into an international force today. The class will pay close attention to the construction of national institutions, racial and national ideologies, and the celebration of national culture. We will also study Brazil’s impact on the world, from its export of cultural products in cinema, music, and literature in translation, to soccer. It will be important to study the communities of Brazilians in diverse places such as Miami, New York, London, and Paris. We will utilize various writing, oral, and digital methods to examine the major political, economic, and cultural movements that defined Brazilian history from the creation of the empire in the 1820s to the political and cultural tensions of the current regime 3 hr. lect. AAL AMR HIS

Spring 2020

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BLST 0300 - Models of Inclusive Education      

Models of Inclusive Education
In this course we will focus on strategies and techniques for including students with diverse learning styles in general education environments. Legal, theoretical, philosophical, and programmatic changes leading toward inclusive models of education will be approached through a historical overview of special education for students with disabilities. Additionally, the course works to expand notions of inclusion such that students' multiple identities are incorporated into all learning. Emphasis is given to the active learning models and differentiated curriculum and instruction to accommodate a range of learners with diverse disabilities, abilities, and identities. (EDST 0115 or SOAN 0215 or SOCI 0215 or AMST 0105). AMR NOR SOC

Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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BLST 0301 - Black Studies Theory & Methods      

Theory and Methods in Black Studies
In this course, which is the required junior seminar for Black Studies, we will explore the historical, philosophical, and methodological basis of Black Studies. Reading seminal primary and secondary sources, students will gain a deeper understanding of both the central issues and the range of theoretical responses (e.g., intersectionality, critical race theory) that have helped shaped the field since its inception in the late 1960s. Emphasis will be given to preparing students for senior work in the major. 3 hrs. sem. HIS SOC

Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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BLST 0304 - Af Am Activism in Education      

African American Activism in Education
In this course we will examine how Black activists have fought against inequity and contributed to social change in and through education. After discussing fights for access to education – and the use of education for change – in the 19th and early 20th century, we will focus on the Civil Rights and Black Power Era. We will examine struggles for desegregation, integration and community control, initiatives such as the Mississippi Freedom Schools and independent Black Power schools, as well as activism on college campuses. We will conclude by contextualizing current struggles in education within the long fight for Black freedom and equal education. 3 hrs. lect. AMR HIS NOR SOC

Fall 2021

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BLST 0305 - XICANXRIBEÑXS      

XICANXRIBEÑXS: Our Stories, Our Worlds
In this course we will study how Chicanos/Xicanxs and Hispanic Caribbean communities have organized networks of solidarity to overcome oppression and work towards liberation. The Spanish portmanteau “XICANXRIBEÑXS” is an ode to the famous Revista Chicano-Riqueña that evolved out of the Civil Rights Movement and the rise of Ethnic Studies in the 1960s and early 1970s. We will examine their de/colonial histories, contentious status as diasporic communities, and literary and artistic legacies. Some topics may include Latinx print culture, Gloria Anzaldúa’s mestiza feminism in relation to Afro-Caribbean feminisms, and musical cultures from bomba and fandango to Selena and Cardi B. (SPAN 0220 or by placement) 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL AMR LIT LNG

Spring 2021

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BLST 0310 - Livin' for the City      

Livin' for the City
In this course we will engage the idea of the "ghetto" as constructed through literature, film, music, and television. Our exploration will relate this concept to geographic spaces and to a socially-constructed set of ideas about urban African American spaces and communities. We will combine critical textual analysis with fundamental concepts from human geography and social history to explore shifting conceptions of the “ghetto”, consider its impact on urban African American space, and examine how the responses of urban black American artists affect, resist, and change its imaginative geography. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AMR CMP NOR SOC

Spring 2020

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BLST 0315 - Health/Healing in African Hist      

Health and Healing in African History
In this course we will complicate our contemporary perspectives on health and healing in Africa by exploring diverse historical examples from the continent's deep past. Our readings, discussions, and papers will cover a range of historical contexts and topics, such as the politics of rituals and public healing ceremonies in pre-colonial contexts, state and popular responses to shifting disease landscapes in the colonial era, long-term cultural and economic changes in healer-patient dynamics, the problematic legacies of environmental health hazards in the post-colonial period, and Africans' engagement with global health interventions in recent decades. 3 hrs. sem. AAL HIS SAF SOC

Fall 2020

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BLST 0348 - Afro-Caribbean Music Genres      

Afro-Caribbean Music Genres
In this course we will study Afro-Caribbean music genres (eg, reggae, mambo, salsa, merengue, reggaeton, and calypso) and their impact within the region and on the global stage. Our main goal will be to compare the contested theoretical concept of cultural hybridity among the larger Caribbean nations (Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic) and their diasporas. We will also explore how Caribbean musicians and superstars work within the global infrastructure of the music/dance industry, while occasionally managing to counter the hegemonic erasure of the legacy of Black rebellion, worker revolution, nationalism, and racial/gender politics. (SPAN 0220 or 300 level Spanish course) 3 hrs. lect AAL AMR ART CMP LNG

Spring 2020, Fall 2021

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BLST 0358 - Reading Slavery and Abolition      

Reading, Slavery, and Abolition
In this course we will study both black and white writers' psychological responses to, and their verbal onslaughts on, the "peculiar institution" of chattel slavery. We will work chronologically and across genres to understand how and by whom the written word was deployed in pursuit of physical and mental freedom and racial and socioeconomic justice. As the course progresses, we will deepen our study of historical context drawing on the substantial resources of Middlebury's special collections, students will have the opportunity to engage in archival work if they wish. Authors will include Emerson, Douglass, Jacobs, Thoreau, Stowe, Walker, and Garrison. This course may also be counted as a general elective or REC elective for the ENAM major. 3 hrs. sem. This course is part of the Public Humanities Labs Initiative administered by the Axinn Center for the Humanities.* AMR HIS LIT NOR

Spring 2020, Fall 2021

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BLST 0363 - Black Queer Studies      

Black Queer Studies
What does sexuality have to do with race? Does racialization inform much of what we understand about gender? Black queer/trans life and thought speaks to much of these concerns. We’ll be challenged to think through ways that oppressions like anti-Black racism, misogyny, and homo/transphobia operate against (and even within) Black queer and Black trans communities, as well as the ways in which these communities respond and create their own theories/practices of life & joy through an examination of Black queer studies that looks across the African diaspora for theories and methodologies which span a range of social, political, and cultural geographies.(BLST 0101 or GSFS 0191, or by instructor approval) CMP PHL SOC

Spring 2022

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BLST 0372 - Civil Rights & Black Freedom      

The Long Struggle for Civil Rights and Black Freedom
The modern civil rights movement is the central focus of this course, but it offers more than a survey of events from Montgomery to Memphis. It explores the pre-World War II roots of the modern black freedom struggle, the complex array of local, regional, and national initiatives in the 1950s and 1960s, the competing strategies for empowerment offered by Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X, and developments since the 1970s, including the rise of Black Lives Matter. This course employs a "race relations" perspective, stressing the linkages among the experiences of African Americans, whites, and other groups. 2. Hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc. AMR HIS NOR

Spring 2021

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BLST 0375 - Struggles in Southern Africa      

Struggles for Change in Southern Africa
In this course we will examine the tumultuous period of social struggle in southern Africa in the decades following World War II. Major topics to be covered include the rise of apartheid and the mobilization of anti-apartheid resistance in South Africa and Namibia; the liberation struggle against white settler rule in Zimbabwe; the fight for freedom from Portuguese colonialism in Mozambique; and Mozambique's protracted civil war following independence. A central purpose of this course is to explore how these different arenas of struggle transformed individual lives and social relations in complex and diverse ways, generating enduring impacts and challenges within the region. AAL HIS SAF SOC

Spring 2020

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BLST 0462 - Histories of Struggle      

Histories of Struggle: Middlebury, Town and Gown
In this upper-level seminar, students will examine the historical experiences of Black, PoC, female, LBGTQ, gender non-conforming, and “othered” persons at Middlebury College and in the town, circa 1800-2020. Students will access digital sources housed at Special Collections (Davis Library) and at the Stewart-Swift Research Center (Henry Sheldon Museum) on a range of topics, including race, gender, and sexuality in the contexts of anti-slavery, colonization, eugenics, temperance, women’s rights, and entertainment. Students will receive either BLST or HIST CW credit, for which they will produce 25-page essays. The essays will be archived in Special Collections for use by future researchers. At the conclusion of the course, students will be invited to translate their essays into publicly exhibited Twilight Projects, for which they will receive a small stipend. CW HIS SOC WTR

Winter 2021

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BLST 0464 - Universities & Slavery      

Universities and Slavery in America
In this seminar we will explore and compare the different histories of enslavement at schools across the country from colonial times to the present. Some of the questions we will answer include: what was the importance of slavery in the development of higher education? How did people experience enslavement in schools? How did universities perpetuate slavery culture? The class will also consider the emerging debates over reparations and restorative justice and the role of students in these developments across the country. Using our knowledge of other institutions, students will research Middlebury’s place in this history. 3 hrs sem. AMR HIS NOR

Fall 2021

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BLST 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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BLST 0700 - Senior Work      

Senior Work
(Approval Required)

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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BLST 0710 - Senior Thesis Work      

Senior Thesis Work
(Approval Required)

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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BLST 1002 - Teaching August Wilson      

Make Room: Teaching August Wilson
August Wilson has been hailed as “Theater's Poet of Black America,” yet many students have little exposure to this literary giant. In this course we will explore Wilson’s impressive cycle of 10 plays illustrating 20th century African-American experiences. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to reading, analyzing, and understanding Wilson’s work, exploring such influences as the blues, visual artist Romare Bearden, and playwright/poet Amiri Baraka. We will also use Critical Race Theory as an analytical tool for understanding Wilson’s significance within the larger context of race relations. AMR ART LIT NOR

Winter 2021

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BLST 1152 - Introduction to Swahili      

Introduction to Swahili and East African Culture
This course introduces students to Swahili, the lingua franca of East Africa. Students will acquire a foundation for speaking, reading, and writing Swahili, and will learn how to use it appropriately in East African culture. The use of English in the classroom will be kept to a minimum. The course also provides an introduction to the geography and history of East Africa. This course is particularly useful for students who intend to visit Kenya, Tanzania, or Uganda, because its linguistic and cross-cultural training will give them the resources to maximize such an experience. This course counts as elective credit towards the African Studies minor. AAL LNG SAF WTR

Winter 2020, Winter 2021, Winter 2022

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BLST 2315 - Race, Exile, and Immigration      

Race, Exile, and Immigration: Africa and Western World
As George Lamming put it, to be in exile is to be alive, especially when the exile is a person of colonial orientation who has experienced a sense of alienation resulting from the imposition of foreign codes on his/her culture. In this course, we will explore otherness, the gaze, and the myth of immigration and/or exile. We will study creative writings, essays, and films produced by artists who are made to feel a sense of exile or strangeness. Problems inherent to physical and intellectual displacement/exile of the colonized in colonial and postcolonial eras will also be examined. SAF SOC

Spring 2021, Fall 2021

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