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Society & Culture

American Academy of Religion

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Society & Culture
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The audio feed of American Academy of Religion (AAR), the world's largest scholarly and professional association of academics, teachers, and research scholars dedicated to furthering knowledge of religions and religious institutions in all their forms and manifestations. Featuring interviews with award-winning scholars and sessions recorded during the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion.

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The audio feed of American Academy of Religion (AAR), the world's largest scholarly and professional association of academics, teachers, and research scholars dedicated to furthering knowledge of religions and religious institutions in all their forms and manifestations. Featuring interviews with award-winning scholars and sessions recorded during the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion.

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American Academy of Religion

Latest release on Jun 18, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail about 1 month ago

Rank #1: Marty Forum: Wendell Berry

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November 24, 2013
Baltimore, Maryland

Panelists:
Wendell Berry, Port Royal, Kentucky
Norman Wirzba, Duke University
Michael Kessler, Georgetown University (Presiding)

(Audio File: 1 hour, 32 minutes)

Jun 30 2015

1hr 31mins

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Rank #2: AAR 2019 - Career Services for Non-Academic Careers

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When humanities scholars talk about exploring and pursuing “alt-ac” and “post-ac” careers, two concerns often dominate the conversation: 1) Graduate studies in the humanities don’t prepare us for or aren’t relevant to non-academic career paths, and 2) We don’t know where to look for or how to apply for non-academic jobs. Whether you are a scholar thinking about non-academic careers or a faculty member interested in supporting students engaged in such searches, join our panel of career services experts to discuss the many careers that are open to — and even looking for! — people with advanced training in the humanities. Panelists will discuss existing resources and where to find them, as well as ways that departments, universities, and professional organizations like the AAR can better support scholars in non-academic careers.
Amy Defibaugh, Temple University, Presiding

Panelists:
- Giulia Hoffman, University of California, San Diego
- Maren Wood, Beyond the Professoriate

This session was recorded at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion in San Diego, California, on November 25.

Mar 13 2020

1hr 56mins

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Rank #3: Judith Butler's Parting Ways (Columbia University Press, 2012)

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A panel discussion with Judith Butler about her book "Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism" (Columbia University Press, 2012).

November 25, 2013
Baltimore, Maryland

Panelists:
Claire Katz, Texas A&M University
Samuel Brody, University of Cincinnati
Yaniv Feller, University of Toronto
Mark Lewis Taylor, Princeton Theological Seminary
Saba Mahmood, University of California, Berkeley
Martin Kavka, Lehigh University
Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley (Responding)
Rebecca Alpert, Temple University (Presiding)

(Audio File: 2 hours, 28 minutes)

Jul 01 2015

2hr 27mins

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Rank #4: 2019 AAR Presidential Address by Laurie Patton - “And Are We Not of Interest to Each Other?”

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A Blueprint for the Public Study of Religion. In addition to its traditional goal of fostering excellence in the academic study of religion, the AAR’s recently revised mission statement includes a new goal of enhancing the public study of religion. But what is the public study of religion? How might we collectively (and inevitably imperfectly) define it? This AAR address will offer a blueprint. I suggest that such a public study of religion involves a renewed curiosity about, and disciplined and ethical reflection on, four things: 1) the nature of our scholarly contexts; 2) the nature of our scholarly publics; 3) the nature of power and privilege in the study of religion; 4) the nature of labor in the study of religion. I will use theory in the study of religion, philosophy of the public sphere, and poetry to draw the blueprint. As a way of gesturing to another kind of collective that moves beyond the “magisterial voice of the single leader,” our time together will involve AAR voices other than my own. I end with an exhortation to a newly energetic and different kind of curiosity as fundamental to our work as public scholars. In her poem, “Ars Poetica #100: I Believe,” Elizabeth Alexander ends with a query: “. . . and are we not of interest to each other?”

José I. Cabezón , University of California, Santa Barbara, Presiding

Panelists:
Laurie Louise Patton, Middlebury College

This session was recorded at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion in San Diego, California, on November 23.

Apr 23 2020

1hr 2mins

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Rank #5: 2016 Plenary Address: Michelle Alexander with Kelly Brown Douglas

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Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar. Alexander is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Stanford Law School. Following law school, she clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court and for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Prior to entering academia, Alexander served as the director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California, where she coordinated the Project’s media advocacy, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and litigation. The Project’s priority areas were educational equity and criminal justice reform, and it was during those years at the ACLU that she began to awaken to the reality that our nation’s criminal justice system functions more like a caste system than a system of crime prevention or control. She became passionate about exposing and challenging racial bias in the criminal justice system, ultimately launching and leading a major campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement known as the “DWB Campaign” or “Driving While Black or Brown Campaign.” In addition to her nonprofit advocacy experience, Alexander has worked as a litigator at private law firms including Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller, in Oakland, California, where she specialized in plaintiff-side class-action lawsuits alleging race and gender discrimination. In 2005, she won a Soros Justice Fellowship, which supported the writing of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" (The New Press, 2012), and that same year she accepted a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. She currently devotes much of her time to freelance writing; public speaking; consulting with advocacy organizations committed to ending mass incarceration; and, most important, raising her three young children—the most challenging and rewarding job of all.

In this plenary address from the 2016 AAR Annual Meeting, Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas (Goucher College) interviews Alexander, and the women converse in turn about racial (in)justice, the election, and religion's role in U.S. politics.

The session is introduced by 2016 AAR president, Serene Jones.

This plenary was recorded during the 2016 Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, on November 20.

Aug 03 2017

1hr

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Rank #6: Populism through the Lens of Religion and Race

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This discussion explores the impact of religion and race on American populism across the ideological spectrum. Papers explore the interplay of religious and secular forces on the #BlackLivesMatter movement, including a theological exploration of the death of Michael Brown and an examination of how Millennial activists are blurring secular/religious boundaries. The session juxtaposes these topics with examinations of white conservative populist expressions. Papers explore populist elements within the Southern Baptist Convention that laid the foundation for white evangelicals to throw their support behind Donald Trump and among Tea Party women whose rhetoric centered around a vision of white Christianity fighting the legality of abortion.

Robert P. Jones, Public Religion Research Institute, presiding

Papers:
- "The Reproductive Politics of Evangelical Tea Party Women and the Afterbirth of Trump’s America"
Larycia Hawkins, University of Virginia

- "Populism in the Southern Baptist Convention"
Adam Hankins, DePaul University

- "Critical Complexities: Religious-Secularity or Secular-Religiosity, and #BlackLivesMatter"
Seth Gaiters, Ohio State University

- "Seeing Jesus in Michael Brown: Theological Protest as the Performance of Purity in the Black Lives Matter Movement"
Rima Vesely-Flad, Warren Wilson College

This session was recorded at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 18, in Boston, Massachusetts.

May 24 2018

1hr 50mins

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Rank #7: "Goddess and God in the World": An Embodied Theological Conversation

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Taking off from their new book, Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology (Fortress, 2016), Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow introduce their embodied theological method and explore their theological differences: Is Goddess a personal presence who cares about the world? Or is God an impersonal creative energy equally supportive of good and evil? Mary E. Hunt will moderate a conversation that includes Monica Coleman, Aysha Hidayatullah, Miranda Shaw, and Julia Watts-Belser, who will speak from Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, and Goddess perspectives. The panelists respond to the book, especially to its method, but also discuss their own theological positions, reflecting on what theological perspectives best make sense of and promote the flourishing of our common world.

Sep 21 2017

2hr 5mins

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Rank #8: Recolonizing the Academy Under a Trump Presidency

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This panel analyzes the intensified colonization of academic spaces—both intellectual and physical—under the current presidency. How do we accurately map these changes and negotiate these spaces in an era of national “whitelash” from peripheral ideological and embodied spaces? How do we contend with the increasing marginalization and targeting of vulnerable populations? What strategies might scholars use to contribute to the ongoing process of decolonizing the academy? What are the potential ramifications of our non-action or complicity in this academic landscape?

Munir Jiwa, Graduate Theological Union, presiding

Panelists:
- Hatem Bazian, Zaytuna College and University of California, Berkeley
- Jasmin Zine, Wilfrid Laurier University
- Mel Chen, University of California, Berkeley
- Shanell T. Smith, Hartford Seminary

This session was recorded at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 19 in Boston, MA.

Apr 19 2018

1hr 32mins

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Rank #9: AAR 2019 - How to Get Published in Religious Studies Journals

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This panel brings together five editors of religious studies journals to discuss the nuts and bolts of journal editing, with the aim of making the process more transparent. The panel will be of particular interest to graduate students and junior faculty who are new to the activities of scholarly publishing.

Andrea Jain, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, and S. Brent Plate, Hamilton College, Presiding

Panelists:
- Elizabeth Ann Pritchard, Bowdoin College
- Johan Strijdom, University of South Africa
- Jimmy Yu, Florida State University
- Marie W. Dallam, University of Oklahoma

This session was recorded at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion in San Diego, California, on November 23.

Mar 26 2020

1hr 50mins

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Rank #10: Contingency Possibilities: Career Options within and beyond the Academy

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This joint panel explores ways in which contingency may be constructive (and the ways contingent faculty work can be made more humane and viable) as part of a larger discussion about non-tenure-track and “alt-ac” paths.

Lynne Gerber, Harvard University, Presding

Panelists:
- Simran Jeet Singh, New York University
- Megan Goodwin, Northeastern University
- Hussein Rashid, Barnard College
- Matthew Bingley, Georgia State University

The session was recorded on November 19, 2018 in Denver, Colorado, during the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion.

Mar 07 2019

2hr 18mins

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Rank #11: Conversion in America: A conversation with Lincoln Mullen

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Lincoln Mullen, author of "The Chance of Salvation: A History of Conversion in America," joins Kristian Petersen in a conversation about the spectrum of religious identity in American history and how the phenomena of conversion is an opening which allows scholars to study a variety of religious groups—and their relationships to each other.

Mullen is the winner of the 2018 Best First Book in the History of Religions.

Apr 18 2019

21mins

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Rank #12: Black Liberation Theologies of Disability

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Building upon a 2015 conference on Black Liberation Theologies of Disability at Union Theological Seminary, organized by Kendrick Kemp, this session attempts to construct liberation theologies that take seriously the experiences of blackness and disability. Panelists explore the ways that racialized and disabled embodiment offers innovative readings of text, tradition, and theological frameworks. What resources for a black liberation theology of disability can be sourced from black religious traditions? From disability activism? From black protest movements? Can theology be more responsive to the presence of elders in black religious communities? How can theologies grapple with the disabling traumas, state and social violence, and the toll of activism in black experiences? How can black theologies support those living with mental health challenges, learning differences, and brain injuries? How do our theologies honor and celebrate black disabled bodies?

Panelists:
- Nyasha Junior, Temple University, presiding
- Monica A. Coleman, Claremont School of Theology
- Garth Kasimu Baker-Fletcher, Texas College
- Kendrick Kemp, Union Theological Seminary
- Pamela Lightsey, Boston University

This session was recorded during the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 21, in San Antonio, Texas.

Sep 08 2017

2hr 15mins

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Rank #13: “Normativity” and the Academic Study of Religion: Theology v. Religious Studies

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This conversation focuses on one of the most enduring and difficult issues facing the Academy: what is the relationship between theology and religious studies? 2015 AAR president Tom Tweed presides over the exchange between Ann Taves, a distinguished scholar of religious studies (University of California, Santa Barbara) and Graham Ward, a distinguished scholar of theology (University of Oxford), by asking each to identify the epistemic, moral, and aesthetic values that inform their work.

Jan 07 2016

1hr

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Rank #14: The Study of Religion and Responses to Terrorism: Paris, Beirut, and Beyond

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This panel session was added to the 2015 AAR program only a week before the Annual Meeting in response to the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, France. The panel of scholars, whose areas of focus range from interreligious dialogue to political Islam to French secularism to ancient Christianity. They discuss the media, Islamophobia, religious violence, geopolitics, rational actors, and activism. They engage questions including: what are the connections between the Paris attacks, other recent attacks in Europe, and ISIS-inspired attacks in Beirut and Baghdad? What should the role of scholars of religion be in contesting Islamophobia and debating appropriate responses to terrorism? How can scholars of religion help shape attitudes and conversations about Islam, religion and violence in the general public? How might the attacks in Paris, Beirut, and elsewhere open up classroom conversations about broader issues in the study of religion?

The panel discussion is followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Panel Participants:
Sarah Rollens, Rhodes College
Stephanie Frank, Columbia College, Chicago
Edward E. Curtis, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
Jerusha Lamptey, Union Theological Seminary

Todd Green, Luther College, Presiding

This panel was recorded on November 21 at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Atlanta, GA.

Jan 21 2016

2hr 11mins

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Rank #15: Faculty Members on Preparing Scholars of Religion for Non-academic Careers

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In recent years as the job market for tenure-track academic positions has tightened and the use of contingent faculty has exploded, increasing numbers of graduate degree seekers are intending to pursue nonacademic careers. While some areas of study present obvious nonacademic options, for scholars in the humanities, nonacademic career opportunities and the best preparation for them may not be obvious and religious studies faculty are exploring how graduate programs can - and should - prepare all alumni for multiple employment outcomes. This panel brings together faculty members from a variety of institutions to discuss some of the problems confronting their students and their programs as more people turn - by necessity and by choice - to nonacademic career paths.

Cristine Hutchison-Jones, Harvard Law School, Presiding

Panelists:
- Molly Bassett, Georgia State University
- Jason C. Bivins, North Carolina State University
- Kathleen Moore, University of California, Santa Barbara

This session was recorded at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 19.

Jun 14 2018

1hr 23mins

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Rank #16: Reformation and Reformations

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The Reformed Theology and History Group and the Martin Luther and the Global Lutheran Traditions Group host a joint panel on the meaning of 'Reformation' and what implications the notion of 'Reformation' or 'reformations' has for us today—theologically or ecclesially. Panelists explore the relevance of 'reformation/s' for the contemporary context, including ways in which aspects of the Protestant Reformation deserve retrieval, reframing, or retraction today.

Panelists:
- Amy Plantinga Pauw, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
- Kristen E. Kvam, Saint Paul School of Theology
- Cornelis van der Kooi, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
- Evangeline Anderson Rajkumar, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Kirsi Stjerna, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, presiding

The panel was recorded at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 20 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Mar 15 2018

2hr 33mins

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Rank #17: Protecting the Vulnerable on Campus - Academic Labor, LGBTIQ Persons, and Grad Students

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For many of us who study or work in colleges and seminary campuses today it may be easy to ignore the vulnerable at our institutions. Yet the most vulnerable are often at risk or subject to discrimination and exploitation based on inequities of power, money, lack of social net, or means to voice their concerns about campus life and work. This panel examines what needs attention and the strategies that vulnerable people and their allies can use to decrease vulnerability and increase solidarity. Special attention is paid to the status of, and strategies being deployed by, the LGBT+ community, graduate students, people of color, low paid workers, and non-tenured faculty.

Eddie S. Glaude, Princeton University, presiding

Panelists and Papers
- " 'Although the Doors Were Shut': Cultivating Courageous Community at the Borders of the Academy"
Cameron Partridge, Saint Aidan's Episcopal Church, San Francisco

- "It Doesn't Always Feel Good: Redefining Notions of Inclusion and Moving beyond 'Diversity' "
Prea Persaud, University of Florida

- "Solidarity within the Faculty"
James Keenan, Boston College

- "Ad Junk: Accounting for Different Vulnerabilities in Vulnerable Professional Positions"
Hussein Rashid, Islamicate LLC

- "Just Employment: Solidarity among Campus Workers"
Kerry Danner, Georgetown University

This session was recorded at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 18 in Boston, Massachusetts. It was organized by AAR Committees on Academic Labor and Contingent Faculty; Graduate Students; and LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession.

May 10 2018

2hr 27mins

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Rank #18: Preparing Scholars for Nonacademic Careers: What's a Faculty Member to Do?

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A companion to our last episode, which focused on what students can do to prepare for nonacademic careers, this podcast highlights how religious studies faculty and graduate programs can create a variety of career paths for their students. In recent years as the job market for tenure-track academic positions has tightened and the use of contingent faculty has exploded, increasing numbers of graduate degree seekers are intending to pursue nonacademic careers. While some areas of study present obvious nonacademic options, for scholars in the humanities, nonacademic career opportunities and the best preparation for them may not be obvious and religious studies faculty are exploring how graduate programs can—and should—prepare all alumni for multiple employment outcomes. This panel brings together faculty members from a variety of institutions to discuss some of the problems confronting their students and their programs as more people turn—by necessity and by choice—to nonacademic career paths.

Panelists:
- Cristine Hutchison-Jones, Administrative Director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School
- Martin Kavka, Professor of Religion, Florida State University
- Stephen Prothero, Professor of Religion, Boston University
- Kathryn McClymond, Professor of Religious Studies, Georgia State University
- Sarah E. Fredericks, Assistant Professor of Environmental Ethics, University of Chicago Divinity School

This panel discussion was recorded during the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 20, in San Antonio, Texas.

Jun 21 2017

1hr 14mins

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Rank #19: Existentialism, Authenticity, and Asceticism with Noreen Khawaja

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Noreen Khawaja talks to Religious Studies News about her book "The Religion of Existence: Asceticism in Philosophy from Kierkegaard to Sartre" (University of Chicago Press), which won the American Academy of Religion’s 2017 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in Constructive-Reflective Studies.

Music is Dexter Britain, “Fresh Monday” (www.dexterbritain.co.uk)

Feb 15 2018

27mins

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Rank #20: Religion, Immigration, and Politics: North American and European Perspectives

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AM 2016: This panel provides some comparative insights on the current situation in Europe alongside experiences in the USA, exploring how religion is located within these debates, for instance as a foundation for appeals to national or civilizational identities that exclude certain groups, as well as a means for overcoming conflict and providing support and advocacy for vulnerable immigrant communities. What are the implications of defining refugees/immigrants in terms of their faith and ethnicity, including the ways in which this can fuel negative stereotypes? And how do we make sense of the ambiguous response of Christian churches/Christianity in both the USA and Europe in addressing issues around immigration? The panelists address these questions and others through comparative insights drawing upon the social and political sciences, as well as theological approaches.

Panelists:
- Emma Tomalin, University of Leeds
- Atalia Omer, University of Notre Dame
- Daniel Groody, University of Notre Dame
- Jocelyne Cesari, Harvard University
- Erin Wilson, University of Groningen
- Victor Carmon, Oblate School of Theology

This panel session was recorded at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion on November 21, in San Antonio, Texas.

Jul 27 2017

1hr 58mins

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