Helen Mort and Jason Taylor will be hosting an evening event of poetry and neuroscience at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on 2nd December. Click below for details:

Oxford University Museum Poetry Event

Dr Emily Alder (Napier University) is in the process of putting together two panels for BSLS 2018 and invites proposals for either of the following topics:
1. Gothic and science (fairly broadly, to promote BSLS/ International Gothic Association links - if you are like me both a BSLS and IGA member it would be particularly good to hear from you!)
2. Frankenstein and science (with one eye on the bicentenary)
If you are interested in joining either panel, please get in touch with Emily by 1st December at em.alder@napier.ac.uk

The studentship is one of four Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs) offered this year by the SWW Consortium. Successful students will take up their awards in September 2018.  Potential students should contact the academic supervisor listed below in the first instance, with a view to submitting their application as part of the open competition for a SWW DTP studentship, which opens on Monday 27th November 2017 and closes on Thursday 11th January 2018, 11.59pm GMT.  Please note that the deadline for expressions of interest to the academic supervisor is 14th December 2017.

https://www.sww-ahdtp.ac.uk/sww-dtp-collaborative-doctoral-awards-cdas/

Thomas Hardy, Victorian Studies, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies

Hardy, Dorset and the wider world

The project, a collaboration between Exeter, Southampton, Dorset County Museum (DCM) and Dorset History Centre (DHC), will explore Thomas Hardy’s involvement in the social, legal and political worlds of Dorset and examine ways in which Hardy draws on these experiences in his fiction, often to social ends.  It will make a substantial contribution to Victorian Studies and to Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, allowing the student to track with new precision, and in unprecedented detail, relations between the regional, national and international.  The project would also enjoy support from Exeter’s new Digital Humanities Lab.

It will be a timely and important project for Dorset County Museum’s HLF-funded redevelopment as part of its vision for Tomorrow’s Museum for Dorset, and for DHC which is awaiting the outcome of an HLF bid ‘Securing the Past’ to extend and refurbish DHC as well as conduct a major programme of public engagement.  The project will be central to Exeter’s Centre for Literature and Archives (CLA) and the Centre for Victorian Studies (CVS), and Southampton’s Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research(SCNR).  There is also scope for involvement with Exeter’s Centre for Medical History and Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health and Southampton’s Research Centre for Medical and Health Humanities.  The student would have the opportunity to become involved with the REF2021 Impact Case Study 'Promoting the Preservation, Presentation and Public Understanding of the work of Thomas Hardy', which Richardson is leading, and to inform the work of the Hardy Country Steering Group whose members currently include Exeter, the National Trust, DCM, Dorset AONB, the Thomas Hardy Society and Bath Spa University.   They would also have the opportunity to attend the annual BAVS conference (at Exeter in August 2018) and SCNR’s next international conference (September 2018), ‘Regionalism in the Long 19th Century’.

Dorset County Museum is an independent museum. Owned and managed by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, of which Hardy was a member, it receives financial support from Dorset County Council and West Dorset District Council. Dorset History Centre (DHC) is the home of the Joint Archives Service (JAS) for Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole and it also holds the Dorset Local Studies and Dorset Authors library collections.

DCM holds the Thomas Hardy Archive and Collection, the largest Hardy collection in the world, recently selected for the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Programme register. It includes over 5000 unpublished letters to Hardy which reveal Hardy’s involvement in a global network, engaged in a wide range of debates; it also includes drafts of letters from Hardy, often pencilled on correspondence he received.  DCM also holds the Dorset County Chronicle, from which Hardy took notes, and DCM’s original manuscripts of The Woodlanders, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Under the Greenwood Tree are stored at DHC.  Under-researched collections at DHC range from the records of the borough authority to the records of the courts (Petty Sessions and Quarter Sessions), prisons and hospitals.  The Quarter Sessions archive – the quarterly records of the courts which dealt with a huge range of civil and criminal matters – provides a cross section of contemporary life.  The student would gain valuable experience in the management of archives and museum collections and in advising on exhibitions and outreach and public engagement projects, and they will develop expertise in the care, description and analysis of manuscript materials. They would be trained by the organisations’ archivists and curators and would gain a wide range of transferable skills.

The student would draw on the expertise of Professors Angelique Richardson and Mary Hammond, including Hammond’s co-edited Rural-Urban Relationships in the Nineteenth Century: Uneasy Neighbours? (Routledge, 2016) and Richardson’s forthcoming The Politics of Thomas Hardy Biology, Culture and Environment.  Both supervisors have extensive experience supervising PhD students, including Collaborative Doctoral Award holders.   The student would join dynamic and supportive research communities at Exeter and Southampton and DCM and DHC will support the student by providing advice and guidance on the collections and a welcoming working environment.

Academic contact: Professor Angelique Richardson, University of Exeter – A.Richardson@exeter.ac.uk

Partner contacts: Dr Jon Murden, DCM Director – director@dorsetcountymuseum.org and Sam Johnston, DHC County Archivist  –  s.j.johnston@dorsetcc.gov.uk

There is no First or Last
Only Equality
And who would rule
Joins the majority.

—Mina Loy

Mathematics and Modern Literature is a collaborative, interdisciplinary conference exploring the ways in which writers active between the late nineteenth century and the twenty-first century engage with, represent or reflect upon mathematics in their work.

We are delighted to announce that our keynote speakers for this event will be Dr. Nina Engelhardt (The University of Cologne) and Professor Tim Armstrong (Royal Holloway, University of London). Dr. Nina Engelhardt is a lecturer in English and American Studies at The University of Cologne and has published on the topic of mathematics and science in modernist literature, particularly the works of Thomas Pynchon. Her monograph Modernism, Fiction and Mathematics is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press. Professor Tim Armstrong is based within the Department of English at Royal Holloway, University of London. His recent publications include The Logic of Slavery: Debt, Technology and Pain in American Literature and Modernism: A Cultural History. Professor Armstrong is also the co-editor of the Edinburgh University Press series Edinburgh Critical Studies in Modernist Culture, one of the organizers of the long-running London Modernism Seminar, and a member of the executive committee for the British Association for Modernist Studies (BAMS).

On the face of it, few activities, disciplines or modes of thinking seem as disparate or as incommensurable with one another as those of mathematics and literature. If, according to a common, broadly ‘Platonic’ conception of the subject, mathematics insists upon rigor and exactitude in order to discover eternal, objective and universal truths, literature is often imagined as addressing itself to that which is irreducibly human, subjective, particular or contingent. Where the one may be lauded for yielding access to a neutral, unchanging domain of that which is the same forever and for all, the other might be celebrated as the privileged medium of that which differs, or of that which is true or real for us as creatures of material, historical, cultural, intellectual and linguistic change.

Just as this sketch of ‘literature’ will not suffice—failing, as it does, to take account of the significant and often dramatic ways in which our conception of literature and the literary has shifted since the late nineteenth century—so the opposing caricature of mathematics proves inadequate to register the crises and developments that affected the field—and the ways in which mathematicians and others understood it—over the same period.

As historians of mathematics such as Herbert Mehrtens and Jeremy Gray have suggested in recent decades, mathematics at the turn of the twentieth century may be seen to have been in the midst of a critical and pervasive ‘modernist transformation,’ roughly contemporary with the modernist movements in the arts with which we are generally more familiar. Rooted in developments during the nineteenth century, including the invention of non-Euclidean geometries as well as the elaboration of set theory, ‘modern’ or ‘modernist’ mathematics was subsequently characterised by its tendency to trouble or to break with established notions of mathematical truth, representation, intuition and meaning. As their subject became increasingly abstract and axiomatic in its approach, mathematicians laboured through what became known as the subject’s ‘foundational crisis,’ impelled by an anxious sense of the need to devise or discover a new, firmer footing for the science.

By 1931, the foundational crisis in mathematics had largely petered out, while any residual hope of placing mathematics solidly upon a provably complete and consistent set of axioms was dispelled by the work of Kurt Gödel. However, the field of mathematics has continued to experience profound developments since its ‘foundational crisis,’ from algebraic geometry, topology, group theory and category theory to probability, chaos theory, cryptography and computer science. In addition to ‘modernist’ mathematics, then, Mathematics and Modern Literature also sets out to explore how writers have engaged with later developments in the science, up to and including the influence of (big) data, code and algorithmic technologies upon contemporary literature.

How do writers during this period encounter, understand and interact with mathematics, whether basic, elementary or advanced, whether ‘classical’ or ‘modern(ist)’? To what extent do they negotiate contemporary developments within the field of mathematics? How have authors engaged with the the invention of computational machines and computer programming language, and how have interpretive practices, such as digital humanities, shaped the way we read and interpret texts? What is at stake when we read for quantity?  How are mathematical objects, symbols, concepts and ideas invoked, adapted, deployed, emulated, played with or transformed in literary texts? What kinds of meanings, implications or significance—political, philosophical, social, religious, magical, affective or otherwise—do mathematics and mathematical objects, processes and ideas have for writers? To what extent are these meanings, implications and ideas reproduced, subverted or critiqued in their work?

This conference invites papers on topics that might include, but are not limited to:

  • mathematics and politics
  • mathematics and gender
  • biopolitics / (big) data / code / algorithms
  • digital humanities and the implications for reading / interpreting texts
  • the concept of universality / objectivity / neutrality in literature and mathematics
  • mathematics, literature and affect
  • mathematics and the everyday / extraordinary.
  • mathematics and pedagogy
  • mathematics and the concept of genius / amateurism
  • ‘modernist’ mathematics and its relations to literary and artistic modernism(s)
  • mathematics and form
  • mathematics and style
  • mathematics, literature and truth / proof or measurement / verification
  • mathematics and magic / mysticism
  • the relations between quality and quantity
  • representations of mathematicians and the institution of mathematics
  • mathematics and experimentation
  • mathematics as language / language as mathematics
  • mathematics and poetic meter / rhythm
  • the meanings and aesthetics of mathematical symbols
  • methodologies of literature and mathematics studies

The conference also welcomes contributions that address mathematics in painting, sculpture, music, dance and architecture—in addition to or alongside literature—during the same period.

Please send proposals (250-300 words) for fifteen-minute papers to mathmodlit@gmail.com by 5th February 2018. Please include a short (100-150 word) biography with your abstract. Notification of decision will be made by 19th February 2018.

Panel submissions will also be considered and should be 45 minutes in length. Please send 750-800 word abstract for panel submissions plus individual biographies. Please note that all male panels will not be accepted.

Lunch, refreshments and a wine reception will be provided on both days. Further details will be released in due course, and registration will open in February 2018.

Home

To read the first issue of the Journal of Science & Popular Culture, click here.

Friday 29 June 2018, Saturday 30 June 2018, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln

(Conny Stuart Hall Building)

The Monster Conference is a two-day, interdisciplinary conference, hosted by Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln, celebrating the afterlife and reception of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in the year of the 200th anniversary of its publication.

Confirmed Keynoters: Angela Wright (Professor in English Literature, University of Sheffield), Marc Hanheide (Reader in Computer Science, University of Lincoln)

The continuing fascination with all things Monsters is partly due to the critical and popular reception of Shelley’s creature, termed a “new species” by its ambitious but over-reaching creator who thinks of himself as a scientist. The creature’s life is bodged from the start. The goal of this conference is to examine the legacy of Shelley’s novel as well as the different incarnations of monsters in contemporary research and teaching contexts. Attempting to explain the appeal of the story offers a unique opportunity to promote dialogue between disciplines.

The title of this conference is deliberately left ambiguous to allow for an interdisciplinary exploration of monstrosity and the monstrous. These concepts apply, in the first instance, to social and cultural threats; i.e. to behaviours and (visual) qualities which are deemed socially and culturally unacceptable because they are perceived as amoral or unimaginable. The afterlife and reception of Frankenstein not only brings many opportunities for academic research to intersect with popular culture, but also brings into focus pertinent theoretical and methodological challenges relating to how monstrosity and the monstrous get taught at universities and in schools.

The organisers welcome proposals for papers (20 minutes) and panels (three 20-minute papers) as well as teaching workshops (30 minutes) from a range of disciplines. Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Gothic Studies
  • Reception Studies (afterlife of Frankenstein)
  • ‘Monsters’ as a metaphor (Monstrosity, the Monstrous)
  • Monsters in Literature written for children and/or young adults
  • Monsters in visual culture and performance art
  • Horror Movies for adults and/or for children and/or young adults
  • The Post-human, technology and robot-human interaction
  • Disability Studies
  • Wellbeing
  • ‘Monsters’ in teaching contexts
  • Popular Culture

Abstracts of up to 300 words along with a short biographical note (100 words in the same Word document) should be sent to sibylle.erle@bishopg.ac.uk by 31 January 2018. Ideas for poster presentations are also welcome, particularly from postgraduate students. All proposals will be anonymously peer-reviewed.

 
19-20 March 2018
Weetwood Hall, University of Leeds, UK
 
In recent decades, global research activity around ageing and the life course has grown exponentially. Work in the clinical sciences, and in the established field of gerontology, has explored the challenges and opportunities of ageing through investigations focusing on biological and biosocial elements. More recently, scholars in the humanities and the social sciences working in the field of ageing studies have been turning their attentions to the topic, offering interdisciplinary cultural and social analyses that are theoretically, politically, and empirically engaged. Within this category, a number of scholars across academic disciplines including history of medicine, philosophy, film studies, literature, law, sociology, psychology, and anthropology – and in the cross-disciplinary field of medical humanities – are united by a shared interest in historical perspectives on youth, ageing, and old age.
 
This two-day conference will bring together scholars whose work engages with the past, to share new perspectives on the role and value of historical approaches to ageing across disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences. Several key questions will frame the event:
 

 

  • What can historical research on ageing and the life-course in the humanities and social sciences offer that is distinctive from modes of enquiry in these areas in the clinical sciences?
  • To consider ageing in historical contexts is to encounter issues of disciplinary boundaries and hierarchies, dominant histories, and canonicity. What is the specific nature of these challenges, and how might they be navigated?
  • Is it enough to reconstruct historical, socio-cultural contexts of ageing? Or should historical projects also develop innovative approaches that will address present-day issues?
  • How might scholars in the humanities and social sciences whose work includes historical approaches work together across disciplinary boundaries?
  • Who are the audiences for historical research in ageing? How might we communicate effectively with the academic sciences, with non-academic audiences, and with policy-makers and public-health organisations?
  • What are the broader implications of this kind of work for developing further knowledge and understanding of the role of historical approaches to the study of human health, disability, disease, minds, and bodies?

 

 
We invite contributions in the form of 20-minute papers from scholars at any career stage, and from any discipline in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, broadly construed. Proposals from doctoral and early-career researchers are particularly welcomed. To submit a proposal, email an abstract of 250-300 words, together with a brief biographical note of no more than 150 words to Dr Catherine Oakley (C.M.C.Oakley@leeds.ac.uk), by 30 November 2017.
 
Papers might engage with the questions outlined above from a particular disciplinary perspective. Further topics could include, but are not restricted to:
 

 

  • Senescence and old age
  • Rejuvenation and anti-ageing
  • Childhood, adolescence, and youth
  • Ageing and scientific technologies
  • Families and intergenerational relationships
  • Age and demographic change
  • Ageing in visual and material cultures
  • Ageing, gender, sex and sexuality
  • Work, retirement, and pensions
  • Ethics of ageing
  • Age, ageing, and youthfulness in popular culture
  • Global perspectives on age and ageing

 

 
Confirmed keynote speakers include Dr Hyung Wook Park (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) whose recent book Old Age, New Science posits a close relationship between the emergence of gerontology and changing social perspectives of ageing in the first half of the twentieth century.
 
The conference is being organised as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project “Endless Possibilities of Rejuvenation: Defying Ageing, Defining Youth in Britain, 1919-1948”, led by Dr James Stark at the University of Leeds.

Reviews that have appeared on the British Society for Literature and Science website in October 2017

A list of books for which we are currently seeking reviewers can be found here.

Please email Gavin Budge on <G.Budge@herts.ac.uk> if you would like to propose a book for review  - anything published from 2015 onwards will be considered.

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Maritime Animals
Telling stories of animals at sea
 
 
Two-day international conference
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, UK
 
 
April 26-27, 2019
 
Keynote speakers
Thom van Dooren      
William Gervase Clarence-Smith
 
 
In maritime narratives of humans, ships and the sea, animals are too often absent, or marginalised in passing references, despite the fact that ships once carried, and were populated by, all kinds of animals. Horses, mules and other ‘military’ animals crossed the sea to their battlefields, while livestock were brought on-board to be killed and eaten. Sailors and passengers kept animal companions, ranging widely from cats and parrots to ferrets and monkeys. Animal stowaways, such as rats, termites and shipworms, did tremendous damage to ships’ structures and stores, especially during the age of sail. Rats also emerge from the archives as seafarers, ‘colonisers’ and explorers alongside their human counterparts. Moreover, countless animals – seabirds, dolphins, porpoises, etc. – would visit and accompany ships, filling many sea narratives with the wonder of oceanic animal encounters.
 
The conference seeks to shed fresh light on maritime history by placing animals centre stage. Papers are sought which uncover all aspects of animals’ involvements (and entanglements) with ships and their activities. For instance, what roles did animals play in famous maritime episodes? What were the experiences of animals on board ships, and to what extent is it possible to recover them?  In what ways were managing, sharing with, and caring for, animals important concerns of ships’ crews? What were the policies and procedures regarding keeping animals on board, and how did the presence of animals affect maritime practices?  Moreover, the conference will explore the impact of sea-faring animals – whether political, economic, cultural, or environmental – as maritime activities have knitted the world ever more closely together. What roles have animals played in colonial encounters and voyages of discovery, for instance? And how have animals functioned as cultural agents as well as commodities?
 
Liza Verity’s Animals at Sea (2004), a collection of animal photographs from the National Maritime Museum, has demonstrated that pets and animal mascots, affectionately regarded as shipmates, played a significant role in bringing a ship’s human community together. The conference will build on this book, while also going beyond a focus on the role of animals in mediating human shipboard communities to explore animal and human relationships at sea more widely. We call upon the power of story-telling to repopulate maritime history with animals, by telling, and listening to, surprising stories about them.
 
Papers are invited on (but not limited to) the following topics:
 
·         Methods for recovering the shipboard experiences of animals
·         Animals on-board ship (pets, ship’s mascots, vermin, livestock, etc.)
·         Animal explorers: animals and expeditions by sea
·         Animal sightings and encounters: sea birds, dolphins, and other animalvisitors
·         Politics and ethics of human-animal interactions at sea
·         Sea travellers’ tales: animal encounters in diaries, journals and ships’ newspapers 
·         Visual representations of maritime animals (paintings, carvings, scrimshaw, etc.)
·         Sailors as natural historians or zoologists at sea
·         Animals and animal products for trade
·         Ports and dockyard animal stories
·         Whaling, sealing and fishing
·         Ships and animal-borne disease
·         Animal shipwreck stories
·         Animals and ships’ technologies and structures
·         Environmental impact of animals travelling by sea
·         Ship ecology and interspecies relationships
·         Animal superstitions, stories and myths
·         Differing approaches to animals across global seafaring cultures
·         Animals at sea in literature
·         Maritime animals today
 
Please send a short abstract (200-300 words) for a 20 minute paper to Kaori Nagai (K.Nagai@kent.ac.uk ) by May 15, 2018. 
 
Call for stories
In relation to this conference, we are soliciting maritime stories and anecdotes from members of the public, as well as from writers, artists and scholars. If you have any interesting stories of animal encounters on ships or other memorable maritime animal stories, from oral history, the archives, or elsewhere, please drop a line to K.Nagai@kent.ac.uk ; we would be excited to hear from you. Also, we’d be grateful if you could forward this call for stories to those of your friends who have experience of life at sea. We are hoping to create an online forum to share your stories. 
 
 
Conference Organiser:
Dr. Kaori Nagai
School of English
University of Kent
CT2 7NX, UK

The Journal of Literature and Science http://www.literatureandscience.org is once again looking for reviewers to review various articles in the field of literature and science published in the last year to 18 months.

Please find below a number of articles that we would like to offer for review in the JLS. The list is by no means definitive; there’s such a lot of fascinating work out there, so please do let me know if there’s an article not on the list that you’d like to review.

It’s largely first come, first served, so do get in touch with an offer to do a specific article m.geric@westminster.ac.uk

Reviews should be 750 words long. For more details please follow the link: http://www.literatureandscience.org or contact Michelle m.geric@westminster.ac.uk to register your interest.

SUGGESTED ARTICLES

E. L. Johnson, “‘Life Beyond Life’: Reading Milton’s Areopagitica through Enlightenment Vitalism.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 49.3 (2016): 353-370.

Rachel Trubowitz, “Reading Milton and Newton in the Radical Reformation: Poetry, Mathematics, and Religion.” ELH 84. 1 (2017): 33-62.

E. K. Kelly, “‘Experience has not yet learned her letters’: Narrative and Information in the Works of Francis Bacon.” Configurations 24.2 (2016): 145-171.

Paul Gilmore, “Charles Brockden Brown’s Romance and the Limits of Science and History.” ELH 84. 1 (2017): 117-142.

Matthew Landers, “Anatomy, the Brain, and Memory in Tristram Shandy: A Forensic Examination of Sterne's Narrative Structure.” Configurations 25. 4 (2017): 397-414.

Gowan Dawson, “Dickens, Dinosaurs, and Design.” Victorian Literature and Culture 44. 4 (2016): 761-778.

Margaret S. Kennedy, “A Breath of Fresh Air: Eco-Consciousness in Mary Barton and Jane Eyre.” Victorian Literature and Culture 45. 3 (2017): 509-526.

Daniel A. Novak, “Caught in the Act: Photography on the Victorian Stage.” Victorian Studies 59. 1 (2016): 35–64.

Kate Holterhoff, "Egyptology and Darwinian Evolution in Conan Doyle and H. Rider Haggard: The Scientific Imagination." English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920 60. 3 (2017): 314-340.

Eleanor Dobson, “Gods and Ghost-Light: Ancient Egypt, Electricity, and X-Rays”. Victorian Literature and Culture 45.1 (2017): 119-35.

L. Wilhelm, “The Utopian Evolutionary Aestheticism of W. K. Clifford, Walter Pater, and Mathilde Blind.”Victorian Studies 59. 1 (2016): 9-34.

Tyson Stolte, “‘The Infinite within the Finite’: Victorian Prosody and Orthodox Theories of Mind.” Victorian Poetry 54. 3 (2016): 245-274.

Veronica Alfano, “Technologies of Forgetting: Phonographs, Lyric Voice, and Rossetti’s Woodspurge.” Victorian Poetry 55. 2 (2017): 127-161.

Matthew Rebhorn, “Billy’s Fist: Neuroscience and Corporeal Reading in Melville’s Billy Budd.Nineteenth Century Literature 72. 2 (2017): 218-244.

J.L. Lieberman & R. R. Kline, “Dream of an Unfettered Electrical Future: Nikola Tesla, the Electrical Utopian Novel, and an Alternative American Sociotechnical Imagery.” Configurations 25. 1 (2017): 1-27.

A. Caracheo, “The Measurement of Time: Mann and Einstein’s Thought Experiments.” Configurations 25. 1 (2017): 29-55.

Heather A. Love, “Cybernetics Modernism and the Feedback Loop: Ezra Pound’s Poetics of Transmission.” Modernism/Modernity 23. 1 (2016): 89-111.

Kirsty Martin, “Modernism and the Medicalization of Sunlight: D. H. Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield, and the Sun Cure.” Modernism/modernity 23. 2 (2016): 423-441.

Michael Allan, “Re-Reading the Arab Darwin: The Lewis Affair and Naguib Mahfouz’s Palace of Desire.” Modernism/modernity 23. 2 (2016): 319-340.

Joseph Darlington, “A Non-Euclidean Novel: Christine Brooke-Rose’s Such and the Space-Age Sixties.” Journal of Modern Literature 40. 2 (2016): 147-164.

Christopher D. Kilgore, “Bad Networks: From Virus to Cancer in Post-Cyberpunk Narrative.” Journal of Modern Literature 40. 2 (2016): 165-183.

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