Undergraduate Program Chairman: Andreas Glaeser, SS 317, 702-8679
Departmental Contact: Pat Princell, SS 307, 702-8677
World Wide Web:

Program of Study

The discipline of sociology encompasses a diversity of substantive interests, theoretical orientations, and methodological approaches. The phenomena studied by sociologists range from face-to-face interaction in small groups to the structure of the modern world system. They include stratification and mobility, demographic change, urban/rural/suburban communities, race and ethnic relations, mass media, and the social dimensions of such areas as education, family life, law, the military, political behavior, science, and religion. The methodologies of the field range from experimentation, survey research, and field observation to historical comparison and mathematical model building.

The knowledge sociology provides for the understanding of human relations and social organization has made it attractive for students considering careers in such professions as business, education, law, marketing, medicine, journalism, social work, politics, public administration, and urban planning. As a basis for more specialized graduate work, it affords entry to careers in social research in federal, state, and local agencies, as well as into business enterprises, private foundations, and research institutes. Sociology also provides an excellent foundation for students who are planning academic careers in any of the social sciences. The concentration program in the College is accordingly designed to meet the needs of a very diverse group of students.

Program Requirements

Students may enter the sociology program at any time during their second year or at the beginning of their third year by informing the faculty program chairman of their decision. For students with adequate course background, it may be possible to enter as late as the end of the third year. The only prerequisite is completion of the general education requirement in social sciences.

Course Requirements. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology are expected to complete the following requirements. However, students with adequate background in sociology from general education courses or other sociology courses may petition the program chairman to substitute other 20000-level courses for one or more of the introductory sequence courses.

1. A three-quarter introductory sequence consisting of:

a. Social Structure and Change (Sociology 20000). This course is an introduction to the basic theories and concepts of macrosociology. The first half explores the theories of Marx, Weber, and Bourdieu, and their general explanations of social change and social stratification. The second half deals with sociological approaches to ethnicity, race, class, gender, and nationalism.

b. Interaction, Community, and Culture (Sociology 20100). This class deals with the social construction of the individual; the study of face-to-face interaction; community and urban studies; and the study of cultural institutions, symbols, and beliefs.

c. Sociological Methods (Sociology 20200). This course is applications oriented and stresses both professional and academic use of current research methods in the collection and analysis of data. An opportunity to apply many of these methods and analyze the resulting data is an integral part of the course. A review of contemporary philosophies of social research, theory construction, statistical techniques, and computerized data processing supplements the major emphasis.

2. Statistical Methods of Research I (Sociology 20300/30400) or Statistics 20000. These courses provide a comprehensive introduction to widely used quantitative methods in sociology and related social sciences. Topics covered include analysis of variance and multiple regression, which are considered as they are used by practicing social scientists.

3. Six additional courses in sociology or related fields, at least three of which must be in sociology. These courses may be drawn from any of the 20000-level courses in sociology and, after completing Sociology 20000-20100, from any 30000-level courses in sociology that have not been cross listed with undergraduate numbers. Courses may usefully be thought of as falling into six topical clusters: macrosociology and intergroup relations; sociology of institutions; urban sociology; comparative, historical, and cultural sociology; microsociology; and theory and methodology.

4. Senior Seminar (Sociology 29800).

5. B.A. Paper (Sociology 29900).

Summary of Requirements

Concentration 3 SOCI 20000-20100-20200 or approved substitute

1 SOCI 20300/30400 or STAT 20000

(statistics course)

3 sociology courses

3 courses in sociology or related fields (one may be a reading and research course)

1 SOCI 29800 (Senior Seminar)

1 SOCI 29900 (B.A. Paper)


Senior Project. During the senior year, all students concentrating in sociology are expected to work on an original project of sociological inquiry on a topic of their choice culminating in a final paper from twenty to forty pages in length. The project may take the form of either (1) a critical review of a body of literature on a problem developed in conjunction with the work of one or more courses, or (2) an independent research project in which questions are formulated and data are collected and analyzed by the student. In the spring quarter of the junior year, students meet with the program chairman to discuss possible projects. A faculty sponsor is selected for the project during the autumn quarter of the senior year. A form briefly describing the project and signed by the faculty sponsor is submitted to the concentration program chairman before the middle of the winter quarter. The chosen topic is developed during the autumn and winter quarters and the paper is completed in the spring quarter. Students must register for one reading/research (Sociology 29900) course with their faculty sponsor. Students may register for additional research and reading courses (Sociology 29700); however, only two sociology reading/research courses can be counted toward the completion of the courses in sociology or related fields required for a concentration. More than one reading or research course to complete the B.A. paper requires the consent of the program chairman.

Senior Seminar. All projects are reported on and discussed in an undergraduate seminar (Sociology 29800). The senior seminar is a yearlong course. Students participate all three quarters, although they register only once. Registration takes place in the spring quarter of the senior year unless the student plans to graduate out of sequence in some quarter other than spring. A first draft of the paper is to be submitted in the first week of the student's final quarter. All projects are due in final written form no later than the end of the eighth week of that quarter. Those being submitted for evaluation for honors are due by the first day of the seventh week.

Grading. All courses required for completion of the sociology program must be taken for quality grades.

Honors. Concentrators with a grade point average of 3.0 or better overall and 3.25 or better in the concentration who have written substantial B.A. papers may be considered for graduation with honors in sociology.

Handbook. Students interested in pursuing the Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology are encouraged to read the brochure Undergraduate Program in Sociology, which is available in the Office of the Department of Sociology (SS 307).


Andrew Abbott, Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Sociology and the College; Chairman, Department of Sociology

Gary S. Becker, University Professor, Departments of Economics and Sociology; Research Associate, Economics Research Center at the National Opinion Research Center

Charles E. Bidwell, William Claude Reavis Professor, Departments of Sociology and Education, and the College

ANTHONY S. BRYK, Marshall Field IV Professor of Urban Education, Departments of Education and Sociology, and the College

NiCHOLAS A. CHRISTAKIS, Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine and Sociology

Terry Nichols Clark, Professor, Department of Sociology and the College

John L. Comaroff, Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor, Departments of Anthropology and Sociology, Committee on African & African-American Studies, and the College

JAMES A. DAVIS, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology and the College

ANDREAS GLAESER, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and the College

LARRY V. HEDGES, Stella M. Rowley Professor, Departments of Education, Psychology, and Sociology, and the College

PATRICK HEUVELINE, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and the College

Edward O. Laumann, George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Sociology and the College; Director, Ogburn/Stouffer Center for Population and Social Organization at the National Opinion Research Center

Donald N. Levine, Peter B. Ritzma Professor, Department of Sociology and the College

OMAR M. MCROBERTS, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and the College

William L. Parish, Professor, Department of Sociology and the College, Centennial Professor in Chinese Studies

Martin Riesebrodt, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and the Divinity School

Leslie Salzinger, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and the College

Robert J. Sampson, Professor, Department of Sociology and the College

SASKIA SASSEN, Ralph Lewis Professor, Department of Sociology and the College

BARBARA SCHNEIDER, Professor, Department of Sociology; Senior Social Scientist, National Opinion Research Center

Ross M. Stolzenberg, Professor, Department of Sociology and the College

Richard Taub, Paul Klapper Professor of Social Sciences in the College; Professor, Department of Sociology and Committee on Human Development; Chairman, Public Policy Studies Program in the College; Research Associate, Ogburn/Stouffer Center for the Study of Population & Social Organization at the National Opinion Research Center

Linda J. Waite, Professor, Department of Sociology and the College

KIM WEEDEN, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and the College

Kazuo Yamaguchi, Professor, Department of Sociology and the College

Dingxin Zhao, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and the College


For a description of the numbering guidelines for the following courses, consult the section on reading the catalog on page 15.

Information about many course offerings was not available at the time this publication went to press. Please consult the quarterly Time Schedules for final information.

20000. Social Structure and Change. The central objective of this course is to introduce students to the sociological study of individuals in the society, or how individual actions are shaped by their relation to and position in the social structure while contributing to this structure and its change. A central preoccupation is to articulate the linkage between the individual/micro level and the social/macro level. We also concentrate on the latter and the properties of a stratified social fabric. We focus on sociological approaches to the American society, its position in the international structure and its principal dimensions: race and ethnicity, age and gender, and social class. P. Heuveline. Winter.

20100. Interaction, Community, and Culture. This course is open to all students and required of Sociology concentrators. This course explores how individuals and groups interact with each other, relate to their social environment, and, in the process, build and organize our social world. The first part focuses on the individual in society. We examine identity, attitudes, stereotypes, prejudice, and emotions through the lenses of social psychology, emphasizing how these "micro" level processes of interaction shape contemporary patterns of gender and racial inequality. The second part turns to primary groups, communities of affiliation (i.e., social classes and ethnic groups), urban communities, and communities in cyberspace. We explore how these social groups are constructed, how boundaries around them are maintained, and how they reflect and influence individual behavior. Readings draw from recent empirical studies as well as from classic social theory. Staff.

20200. Sociological Methods. This course is an introduction to the basic strategies and methods of social research. The course covers the ways that we think about questions about the social world and what evidence we use to answer them. We review a number of approaches to gathering evidence (e.g., situational analysis, ethnography, intensive personal interviews, focus groups, and survey data) using recent books as case studies of these approaches. We develop hypotheses about social processes and test them using data collected by the students. Students conduct intensive interviews, focus group interviews, and survey interviews; and analyze the data. Each student is part of a small working group that selects a research topic and is supervised by a T.A. O. McRoberts. Autumn.

20300/30400. Statistical Methods of Research. This course provides a comprehensive introduction to widely used quantitative methods in sociology and related social sciences. Topics include analysis of variance and multiple regression, considered as they are used by practicing social scientists. D. Zhao. Winter.

20900/33100. Organizational Analysis (=PBPL 23000, SOCI 20900/33100). This course is a systematic introduction to theoretical and empirical work on organizations broadly conceived, such as public and private economic organizations, governmental organizations, prisons, health-care organizations, and professional and voluntary associations. Topics include intraorganizational questions about organizational goals and effectiveness, communication, authority, and decision-making. Using recent developments in market, political economy, and neoinstitutional theories, we explore organizational change and interorganizational relationships for their implications in understanding social change in modern societies. E. Laumann. Autumn.

21400/51400. Community Development: Comparative Perspective (=SOCI 21400/51400, SSAD 45700). Basic structures of community organization and differential approaches to community change are compared in American and non-American contexts. The role of the worker at the local level is emphasized. Social development or social policy, and administration and planning frameworks are also examined. I. Spergel. Winter.

21700. Social Distribution of Talent. This course considers what is known about the distribution of cognitive skills and why it is important. It begins with a brief historical survey of arguments about the distribution of talent in society before the development of ability tests. Then the development of tests and test theory (psychometrics) is examined. The role that cognitive skill plays in social theory and adult attainment is then considered. The remainder of the course focuses on the social distribution of cognitive skill and academic achievement in the last forty years, particularly gaps between gender, racial, ethnic, and social class groups. L. Hedges. Autumn.

21800. Social and Political Movements. This course provides a general overview and a synthesis on theories of social and political movements. The emphasis is on the importance of state and state-society relations to the rise and outcomes of a social or political movement. D. Zhao. Spring.

22000/30900. Social Change. This course focuses on economic development, political development, social movements, and opinion change. Case materials are drawn from currently developing countries, European historical patterns, and the contemporary United States. W. Parish. Autumn.

22200. Problems in Gender Studies I (=GNDR 10100, SOCI 22200). This course discusses the ways in which feminists have conceptualized and explained gender. It looks at gender as a structure of power, a lived experience, and a contested field of cultural meanings. It also explores the way in which an individual comes to gendered subjectivity from varied locations, marked by differences in race, class, and desire. L. Salzinger. Winter.

22700/36100. Urban Structure and Process (=GEOG 22700/32700, SOCI 22700/36100, SOSC 25100). This course reviews competing theories of urban development, especially their ability to explain the changing nature of cities under the impact of advanced industrialism. Analysis includes a consideration of emerging metropolitan regions, the microstructure of local neighborhoods, and the limitations of the past American experience as a way of developing urban policy both in this country and elsewhere. O. McRoberts. Winter.

23100/36500. Revolutions and Rebellions in Twentieth-Century China. Combining cutting-edge theories on contentious politics with rich historical accounts, this course teaches major revolutions and social movements in twentieth-century China, including the Republican Revolution in 1911, the May 4 Movement in 1919, the December 9 Movement between 1935 and 1936, the communist victory in 1949, the Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976, the 1989 Prodemocracy Movement, and the nationalistic movements in the 1990s. The course focuses on the sociopolitical conditions that led to the rise of these social movements and revolutions, the patterns and consequences of their development, and the impact they each left on China's process of modernization. D. Zhao. Winter.

23500/33500. Political Sociology (=PBPL 23600, SOCI 23500/33500). PQ: Completion of the general education requirement in social sciences. This course provides analytical perspectives on citizen preference theory, public choice, group theory, bureaucrats and state-centered theory, coalition theory, elite theories, and political culture. These competing analytical perspectives are assessed in considering middle-range theories and empirical studies on central themes of political sociology. Local, national, and cross-national analyses are explored. T. Clark. Spring.

24000. Sociology of National Identity and Nationalism. This course introduces students to the main theories of nationalism and to approaches to national identity from various disciplines. We investigate the nature of nations and nationalism and the social processes behind their emergence, as well as the causes of nationalist movements and conflicts. G. Zubrzycki. Spring.

24100/35300. Economic Development in the Inner City (=PBPL 24600, SOCI 24100/35300). PQ: At least one prior course in economics, political science, public policy, or sociology. This course explores conceptually what the issues are around the economic position of cities in the late twentieth century, and how to think creatively about strategies to generate economic growth that would have positive consequences for low income residents. We consider Community Development Corporations, empowerment zones, housing projects, and business development plans through credit and technical assistance. R. Taub. Autumn.

24200. The Suburbs in American Society. This course is meant to be an introduction to classic and contemporary issues and debates about social life in the suburban context. Topics covered include the historical development of the suburbs, myth/stereotype formation and its challenges, suburban ideology, lifestyle, gender issues, planning issues, the debated relationship between physical space and social behavior, malls, racial issues, diversity, stability, and change. The course is designed to be interdisciplinary, using materials from the social sciences, planning, and popular culture to examine the multitude of forces at work in shaping, experiencing, and critiquing the suburban environment. K. Babon. Winter.

24300. Gender and Work in the Family. This course focuses on gender roles and work in the family. We begin by taking a cross-cultural perspective on family work and gender roles and exploring feminist, economic, and functionalist theories of the family. The course then combines these theories with empirical analyses to tackle some of the most important issues facing families today, such as the division of household labor, dual-career couples, changing gender roles, and domestic violence. J. Mahay. Spring.

24400. Sociology of Markets. This course provides an overview of the study of markets and exchange as social institutions. Our review of the literature addresses different types of market and exchange systems found in modern societies, including production, capital, and labor markets, as well as the extension of these concepts to other phenomena in social life such as the case of "marriage markets." Employing both theoretical and empirical advances from a number of sociological perspectives, including transaction cost economics, network analysis, political economy, and neoinstitutionalism, we explore the implications of the social organization of markets and market behavior for individuals and organizations. A. Paik. Autumn.

24700. Metropolitan Development and Planning (=GEOG 26700/36700, PBPL 26700, SOCI 24700). PQ: Third- or fourth-year standing. This course focuses on metropolitan development patterns and on the interplay of geopolitical, economic, and social changes in U.S. cities after 1950. Intergovernmental relations and urban planning concepts and institutions are also explored. Selected policies for economic development, land-use management, housing, education, transportation, energy, or the environment are analyzed by region. D. Holleb. Spring.

25300/33000. Sociology of Childhood and the Family. This course is an introduction to the study of children in families, and the larger communal and national context in which they operate. We first trace the historical development of the modern family, map cross-cultural familial differences, and study variations in child status. We analyze the joint responsibility of the family and the Welfare State for the child's wellbeing, development, and protection. We then focus on differences in family functioning and community context within the contemporary United States and on the corresponding childhood experience and adult life course. P. Heuveline. Autumn.

25400/37400. American Sociological Thought 1900-1980. Sociological thought in the United States reflects both the distinctive features of American intellectual traditions (most notably, pragmatism) and distinctive problems of American society including immigration, ethnic pluralism, mobility, urbanization, professionalization, and crises of democracy. This course samples work by outstanding American sociological thinkers across three periods, 1900-30 (i.e., Dewey, Cooley, Mead, Thomas, and Addams); 1930-50 (i.e., Hughes, Wirth, Merton, and Parsons); and 1950-80 (i.e., Riesman, Janowitz, Merton, and Parsons). D. Levine. Spring.

25500/38500. Overview of Survey Methods (=SOCI 25500/38500, SOSC 20200/30900). This single-quarter course is offered each autumn and winter quarter. The goal for each student is to find a good research question and use this question to guide his or her overall research design. The course walks students through the steps involved in survey research: finding a funder, writing a grant proposal, sampling, questionnaire design, coding, cleaning, and data analysis. Students who are interested in survey research will find this course to be a good place to start because it provides the big picture of what should be considered when designing survey research and how to approach the different tasks involved in a survey project. M. Van Haitsma, V. Bartot. Autumn, Winter.

25600/32900. Urban Policy Analysis (=PBPL 24800, SOCI 25600/32900). This course addresses the explanations available for varying patterns of policies that cities provide in terms of expenditures and service delivery. Topics include theoretical approaches and policy options, migration as a policy option, group theory, citizen preference theory, incrementalism, economic base influences, and an integrated model. Also examined are the New York fiscal crisis and taxpayer revolts, measuring citizen preferences, service delivery, and productivity. T. Clark. Autumn.

25800. Conflict Theory and Aikido. The practice of aikido offers a contemporary exemplar for dealing with conflict that has creative applications in many spheres. This course introduces the theory and practice of aikido together with literature on conflict by economists, sociologists, psychologists, and philosophers. We ask: What is conflict? What forms does it take? Is conflict good or bad? What are the sources, dynamics, and consequences of social conflict? How can conflict be controlled? Physical training on the mat complements readings and discussions. D. Levine. Autumn.

26200/36200. Survey Analysis. This course covers how to analyze and write up previously collected survey data: the basic logic of multivariate causal reasoning and its application to OLS regression, percentage tables, and log odds. We emphasize practice in writing. This is not a course in sampling methods. J. Davis. Spring.

26300. Gender, Sexuality, and Medicine (=GNDR 21200, SOCI 26300). This course examines, from a number of different disciplinary and methodological perspectives, the intersection of gender, sex, and sexuality with the organization and practice of clinical medicine. We are primarily concerned with the manner in which medicine, as a discipline and profession formally grounded in claims to abstracted neutrality, is embedded in a social context, informing and reacting to wider processes such as the construction of gender and sexuality. Our goal is to demonstrate the ways in which medicine has evolved and functions as a site of socially-mediated invention rather than discovery. Many topics relate to women's experience in order to interrogate more generally issues of gender and sexuality in medicine. V. Chang, N. Christakis. Autumn.

26400/36400. Religion and the City. This course examines theory and research in the sociology of religion as they relate to urban social processes. Readings and discussion explore the ways religious institutions impact, and are impacted by, race/ethnic relations, patterns of neighborhood settlement, community development, city politics, and more. Participants conduct fieldwork in a congregation or other religious institution, and produce an original research report. O. McRoberts. Winter.

26900/36900. Globalization: Empirical/Theoretical Elements. This course examines how different processes of globalization transform key aspects of, and are in turn shaped by, major institutions (e.g., sovereignty and citizenship), and major processes (e.g., urbanization, immigration, and digitalization). Particular attention goes to analyzing the challenges for theorization and empirical specification. S. Sassen. Autumn.

27100/37100. Sociology of Human Sexuality (=GNDR 27100, SOCI 27100/37100). PQ: Prior introductory course in the social sciences. After briefly reviewing several biological and psychological approaches to human sexuality as points of comparison, we explore the sociological perspective on sexual conduct and its associated beliefs and consequences for individuals and society. Topics are addressed through a critical examination of the recent national survey of sexual practices and beliefs and related empirical studies. Substantive topics covered include gender relations; life-course perspectives on sexual conduct in youth, adolescence, and adulthood; social epidemiology of sexually-transmitted infections (including AIDS); sexual partner choice and turnover; and the incidence/prevalence of selected sexual practices. E. Laumann. Spring.

27200/37300. Applications of Hierarchical Linear Models. A number of diverse methodological problems (e.g., correlates of change, analysis of multi-level data, and certain aspects of meta-analysis) share a common feature: a hierarchical structure. The hierarchical linear model offers a promising approach to analyzing data in these situations. This course surveys the methodological literature in this area, and demonstrates how the hierarchical linear model can be applied to a range of problems. A. Bryk. Winter.

27300. Theories of Crime. This course provides an examination of sociological approaches to the study of crime and social control. After reviewing key issues in the definition and nature of crime, we turn to an in-depth assessment of classic theories from original sources. We also read three or four books of contemporary research that bear on continuing theoretical debates. R. Sampson. Winter.

27500/33700. The Institution of Education (=PPHA 39700, SOCI 27500/33700). This course is a general survey of the properties of education considered as an institution of historical and contemporary societies. Particular attention is given to institutional formation and change in education, and to education's role in processes of social control and social stratification. C. Bidwell. Winter.

27900/37900. Global-Local Politics (=PBPL 27900, SOCI 27900/37900). Globalizing and local forces are generating a new politics in the United States and around the world. This course explores this new politics by mapping its emerging elements: the rise of social issues, ethno-religious and regional attachments, environmentalism, gender and life-style identity issues, new social movements, transformed political parties and organized groups, and new efforts to mobilize individual citizens. We also analyze where and why such new patterns emerge: what is the role of education, income, mass communication, travel, migration, economic exchange, and other forces, and how are they being reshaped by local, national, and global dynamics. T. Clark. Winter.

28100. Classical Theories of Culture. PQ: Knowledge of works of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. The course surveys classical theories of culture before the linguistic turn, ranging from the very invention of the notion of culture to the sociology of knowledge and early linguistically oriented theories of culture. Authors read include Vico, Herder, Burckhardt, Dilthey, Sapir, Vygotsky, Freud, Cassirer, Malinowski, Merton, Elias, Mannheim, and Gramsci. A. Glaeser. Winter.

29700. Readings in Sociology. PQ: Consent of instructor and program chairman. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. May be taken P/N with consent of instructor. Staff. Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring.

29800. Senior Seminar. PQ: Open to sociology concentrators with fourth-year standing. Must be taken for a letter grade. This course is a forum for students to present their B.A. papers. It is offered as a three-quarter sequence in the autumn, winter, and spring of the senior year. Each quarter counts as one-third course credit; however, students formally register for only one quarter, usually spring. Students graduating at a time other than June should participate in three quarters of the senior seminar in the twelve months before graduation. See the more general statement about the B.A. paper in the brochure Undergraduate Program in Sociology, which is available in the office of the Department of Sociology. A. Glaeser. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

29900. B.A. Paper. PQ: Consent of instructor and program chairman. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. May be taken P/N with consent of instructor. Staff. Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring.

The following 30000-level courses are open to College students.

33200. Urban Landscapes as Social Text (=GEOG 42400, SOCI 33200). PQ: Consent of instructor. This seminar explores the meanings found in varieties of urban landscapes, both in the context of individual elements and composite structures. These meanings are examined in relation to three fundamental approaches that can be identified in the analytical literature on landscapes: normative, historical, and communicative modes of conceptualization. Students pursue research topics of their own choosing within the general framework. M. Conzen. Autumn.

34000. Problems of Public Policy Implementation (=PBPL 22300, PLSC 24900, SOCI 34000). PQ: PBPL 22100-22200-22300 may be taken in sequence or individually. Once a governmental policy or program is established, there is the challenge of getting it carried out in ways intended by the policy makers. Obstacles emerge because of problems of hierarchy, competing goals, and cultures of different groups, as well as because of difficulties in achieving complex new patterns of change. We explore how these obstacles emerge and may be overcome particularly between groups; and between creators and those responsible for implementing programs. We also look at varying responses of target populations. R. Taub. Spring.

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