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Program in the Humanities

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Spring 2012 Archives

Adventures in Ideas (click the title for description)

Historical Jesus Revisited: A 21st Century View
A Distinguished Scholar Seminar Featuring Bart D. Ehrman
February 10-11, 2012
SOLD OUT*

Shakespeare’s Henry Plays: Power, Politics, & the Legacy of War
Featuring the PlayMakers Repertory Production of The Making of a King: Henry IV & Henry V
Co-sponsored by the NC Civic Education Consortium
February 17-18, 2012

Leaders of World War II: Part I
A Distinguished Scholar Seminar Featuring Gerhard L. Weinberg
February 25, 2012
SOLD OUT*

Leaders of World War II: Part II
A Distinguished Scholar Seminar Featuring Gerhard L. Weinberg
March 3, 2012
SOLD OUT*

New Roots in the Old South: Immigration & the Changing Face of North Carolina 
Co-sponsored by the NC Civic Education Consortium
March 17, 2012

History & Ideologies: The Rise & Fall of the Western “-Isms”
A Distinguished Scholar Seminar Featuring Lloyd S. Kramer
March 30-31, 2012
SOLD OUT*

Efficiency in Health Care: Effectiveness & Value
The Vanderwoude Family Seminar
April 13-14, 2012

Jewish Cultures of the American South
The Uhlman Family Seminar
Co-sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies
April 28, 2012

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Science, Society, & Self
May 5, 2012

Americans in Europe: Finding New Identities in Old World Cultures
A Special Seminar in London, England, featuring Distinguished Scholar Lloyd S. Kramer
May 25-26, 2012

Humanities in Action (click the title for description)

February 22, 2012
The Landscape of Immigration Policy in North Carolina
Hannah Gill, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology
TIME: 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

February 29, 2012
2012 Election Season Essentials
Tom Carsey, Pearsall Distinguished Professor of Political Science
TIME: 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

March 21, 2012
Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility: Virtue or Vice?
Steve May, Associate Professor of Communication Studies
TIME: 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

March 28, 2012
The Arab Spring: Uprisings, Revolutions, and War
Andrew Reynolds, Associate Professor of Political Science
TIME: 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

April 18, 2012
The Art of Controversy: Cultural Politics and Contemporary Art
Cary Levine, Assistant Professor of Art
TIME: 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

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Spotlight on Scholars (click the title for description)

February 14, 2012
Soviet Baby Boomers
Donald J. Raleigh, Jay Richard Judson Distinguished Professor of History
TIME: 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

March 20, 2012
What ever happened to Sarajevo? A Look at Postwar Developments in the Former Yugoslavia
Robert Jenkins, Director, Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies
TIME: 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

March 27, 2012
Sounds of War and Revolution: A Musical Perspective on the 20th Century
Annegret Fauser, Professor of Music
TIME: 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

April 10, 2012
Henry VIII & Popular Tudorism
Tatiana String, Adjunct Associate Professor of Art History and History
TIME: 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

April 24, 2012
How to Read the Qur’an
Carl Ernst, William Rand Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies and Co-Director, Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations
TIME: 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

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Descriptions of Spring 2012 Programs

Historical Jesus Revisited: A 21st Century View

A Distinguished Scholar Seminar featuring Bart D. Ehrman
February 10-11, 2012

Join us for this special event in which Bart Ehrman explores the figure of Jesus of Nazareth. Revisiting this popular topic, Professor Ehrman will explore the surviving ancient sources about the historical Jesus, examine every reference to Jesus made by ancient writers who were not among his followers, and set the life and teaching of Jesus in his own historical context by examining his relationship to the Dead Sea Scrolls and other traces of Judaism of his day. Professor Ehrman argues that Jesus is best understood as a Jewish apocalyptic prophet who expected the climax of history to happen within his own generation.

Speaker

Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity. He has written more than twenty books, including four New York Times bestsellers:Misquoting JesusGod’s ProblemJesus Interrupted and Forged.

Topics

Non-Canonical Sources for the Life of Jesus: What Were His Friends and Enemies Saying?

The Gospels as Fact and Fiction: How Good are our Primary Accounts of Jesus’ Life?

A Context for Everything: The Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Apocalypticism, and the Historical Jesus

The Death of the Messiah: Jesus and the Politics of His Day

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Shakespeare’s Henry Plays: Power, Politics, & the Legacy of War

In conjunction with PlayMakers Repertory Company
Co-sponsored by the NC Civic Education Consortium
February 17-18, 2012

We continue a long and fruitful collaboration with PlayMakers Repertory Company around the upcoming dual production of Shakespeare’s Henry plays, The Making of a King: Henry IV & Henry V. Come hear distinguished professors discuss different aspects of Shakespeare’s work as we consider whether Prince Hal can ever truly be redeemed, examine if he has to out-do his father in order to live up to the throne, and explore the relationship between war and peace in Shakespeare’s work. Participants can attend Henry IV on Friday evening after our first speaker and dinner, and Henry V on Saturday afternoon after our concluding panel discussion. This combination of lectures and plays extends the conversation beyond the theater experience. Attend just the seminar or link the experience with the plays; whatever you decide, this will truly be an adventure in ideas, taking you from palaces to battlefields, from taverns to the “vasty fields of France.”

Topics and Speakers

Redeeming Time in Henry IV
Mary Floyd-Wilson, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature

The Acorn Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree, But the Next Generation Might Be an Improvement
Christopher Armitage, Distinguished Professor of Teaching in English and Comparative Literature

After the Battle: Shakespeare’s Belated Warriors
David J. Baker, Peter G. Phialas Professor of English and Comparative Literature

The Making of a King
A panel discussion with our speakers

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Leaders of World War II: Part I

A Distinguished Scholar Seminar Featuring Gerhard L. Weinberg
February 25, 2012

Come join the world’s most eminent historian of World War II to learn about the leading personalities of this world-wide conflagration. In this two-part series, held on consecutive Saturdays, Gerhard L. Weinberg, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, will draw on his broad and detailed knowledge of the decisive decisions, battles, and events to focus on the men who made history. In this first seminar, Professor Weinberg will lecture on Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Winston Churchill, and Chiang Kai-shek.

Speaker

Gerhard Weinberg retired from teaching at Carolina in 1999, but remains active in his field. He is one of the world’s most distinguished scholars of World War II and National Socialist Germany. He is the author of ten books, including A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II, which received three major awards for scholarship, was a Book of the Month Club Main Selection, and is widely considered to be the best single-volume history of World War II. Most recently, Professor Weinberg was awarded the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award, a lifetime achievement prize for excellence in military writing.

Topics 

Adolf Hitler

Benito Mussolini

Winston Churchill

Chiang Kai-shek

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Leaders of World War II: Part II

A Distinguished Scholar Seminar Featuring Gerhard L. Weinberg
March 3, 2012

In this second part of a two-part series, Gerhard L. Weinberg, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, will continue to share his immense knowledge of World War II, focusing on both the details and the broad picture to make the story of the war come to life. In a series of four lectures, Professor Weinberg will provide insights into the lives and decisions of Charles de Gaulle, Joseph Stalin, Tojo Hideki, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Topics

Charles de Gaulle

Joseph Stalin

Tojo Hideki

Franklin D. Roosevelt

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New Roots in the Old South: Immigration & the Changing Face of North Carolina

Co-sponsored by the NC Civic Education Consortium
March 17, 2012

The 2010 census revealed a changed and changing U.S. populace. More than half of the growth in the total population of the United States between 2000 and 2010 was due to an increase in the Hispanic population, and more than three-quarters of this population live in the West and in the South. Between 2000 and 2010, North Carolina experienced a percentage growth of 111% in the number of Hispanic or Latino residents.

This seminar considers how North Carolina is changing and how Latinos and Hispanics are changing along with it. Hannah Gill will explain the larger social forces behind demographic shifts and the realities of immigration policy that affect North Carolinians on the ground. Paul Smokowski explores the complexities of bicultural identity among Latino adolescents, the fastest growing demographic group in the United States. Ashley Lucas and Paul Cuadros will introduce us to their collaboration with Mike Wiley on a new play about the lives of North Carolina poultry workers. Looking behind the numbers, our presenters will highlight the human dimensions of the immigration experience to see just how deep the new roots of Hispanics and Latinos are in the Old North State.

Topics and Speakers

New Roots in the Old North State: Understanding Demographic Change and Immigration Policy in North Carolina
Hannah Gill, Assistant Director, Institute for the Study of the Americas and Research Associate, Center for Global Initiatives

Becoming Bicultural: Risk, Resilience, and Latino Youth
Paul Smokowski, Professor of Social Work and Director, North Carolina Academic Center for Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention

Immigrant Bodies in Performance: A New Documentary Play about North Carolina Poultry Workers
Ashley Lucas, Assistant Professor of Dramatic Art
Paul Cuadros, Assistant Professor of Journalism

Behind the Numbers: Changing Populations, New Experiences
A panel discussion with our speakers

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History and Ideologies: The Rise and Fall of the Western “-Isms”
Part I: The Emergence of Political “-Isms”

A Distinguished Scholar Seminar with Lloyd S. Kramer
March 30-31, 2012

Modern Europe has been a site of cultural innovations, political upheavals, social changes, and devastating wars that shaped the emergence of numerous ideologies and “-isms.”  Both the critics and defenders of European ideas continue to argue about the enduring “-isms” of Western culture. Lloyd Kramer will take us on a three-part historical journey through many of the ideologies that have contributed to the cultural and political conflicts of the modern world. In this first seminar of a three-part series over three semesters, Professor Kramer will focus on political ideologies that emerged in Europe after the eighteenth-century “Enlightenment.” Beginning with an overview of “-isms” as a framework for the analysis of modern history, this first seminar in the series will explore Enlightenment Progressivism, Conservatism and Nationalism, Liberalism and Feminism, and Capitalism and Early Socialism. The influence of these cultural and political ideas extends far beyond Europe and informs the global conflicts of our own time.

Speaker

Lloyd S. Kramer is Dean E. Smith Distinguished Term Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also serves as chair of the History Department. He has been teaching European and global history at Chapel Hill since 1986. He is a past recipient of both the Johnston Teaching Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. He is the author of several books, including Lafayette in Two Worlds: Public Cultures and Personal Identities in an Age of Revolutions and Nationalism in Europe and America: Politics, Cultures, and Identities since 1775.

Topics

The Modern “-Isms” and Enlightenment Progressivism

Conservatism and Nationalism

Liberalism and Feminism

Capitalism and Early Socialism

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Efficiency in Health Care: Effectiveness & Value

The Vanderwoude Family Seminar
April 13-14, 2012

Americans are faced with an ever-growing array of health care options. New guidelines for screening and treatment seem to appear almost weekly, and now most Americans undergo numerous screenings, face various treatment options, and struggle to understand their relevance to their own health. Our seminar will feature four experts who will address the issue of efficiency in health care from a number of perspectives. We’ll learn how guidelines are formulated and how consumers can make sense of them. We’ll explore next the benefits of health screening with an emphasis on making informed decisions armed with a healthy dose of skepticism. The economics of health care will provide the backdrop for our next talk, which will explore the paradox of how consumers can make rational decisions in a system made irrational by insurers and providers. And finally, we’ll consider how practitioners can use evidence to inform decisions as to the effectiveness of treatments. Our goal with this seminar is to help consumers make better decisions about their personal health and gain valuable insights into the issues of effectiveness and value in health policy.

Topics and Speakers

Drowning in Guidelines: Whom Should You Listen To?
Russell Harris, Professor of Medicine and Director, Health Care and Prevention Concentration, Gillings School of Global Public Health

Health Screening Gone Wild: Predicting Heart Disease, Cancer, and Osteoporosis
Nortin Hadler, Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology

Rational Health Care Decisions in an Irrational System
Mark Holmes, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health

The Way Forward: Better Decisions and Better Research
Tim Carey, Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Medicine and Social Medicine and Director, Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research

Efficiency in Health Care
A panel discussion with our speakers

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Jewish Cultures of the American South

The Uhlman Family Seminar
With support from the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies
April 28, 2012

Jews have lived in the South since the late 17th century. Two of the earliest and most important Jewish congregations were founded in Savannah in 1735 and Charleston in 1749. Although never representing a large percentage of the overall population in the South, Jews played leading roles in their communities, and were highly visible as merchants and traders. As connected as they were to their surroundings, Jews could not remain untouched by the distinctive southern worlds around them, and the result was a rich and varied southern Jewish community.

This seminar will explore historical “moments” in the southern Jewish experience from the colonial period to the 1950s. Dale Rosengarten will begin our historical journey with a presentation on Jewish life in colonial and antebellum South Carolina. Adam Mendelsohn will explore the changing relationship between Jews and African Americans in the South in the 19th century. Dale Rosengarten continues our “roadtrip through the Jewish South” with a presentation on the Eastern European Jewish community of South Carolina, 1880-1945. Marcie Cohen Ferris ends our historical journey as she explores the early 20th-century camping movement in American Jewish life and the regional expressions of this social and religious phenomenon in the American South.

Come and explore this rich cultural tradition unique to the region.

Topics and Speakers

Port Jews and Plantation Jews: Colonial and Antebellum South Carolina
Dale Rosengarten, Curator of the Jewish Heritage Collection, College of Charleston

Jews and African Americans from Slavery to Reconstruction
Adam Mendelsohn, Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies, College of Charleston

Pledging Allegiance: The Era of Mass Migration and World Wars, 1880-1945
Dale Rosengarten

“God First, You Second, Me Third”: An Exploration of “Quiet Jewishness” at Camp Wah-Kon-Dah
Marcie Cohen Ferris, Associate Professor of American Studies and Coordinator, Southern Studies Curriculum

Changing Jewish Life in the American South
A panel discussion with our speakers

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Science, Society, & Self

May 5, 2012

In her 2010 book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot introduces readers to the life and death of 31-year-old African American Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer cells have continued to live on as HeLa, the first immortal cell line used widely in scientific research. Skloot writes about the intersections of poverty, race, and science tied up in the creation of the more than 50 million metric tons of HeLa cells, all grown from the original sample taken from this vivacious young woman who had moved to Baltimore from the tobacco fields of Clover, Virginia. Skloot recounts the antebellum folk tales told to slaves about white doctors who roamed the woods looking for runaways on whom to experiment. More than a century later, the Lacks children received similarly fantastic-seeming stories about their deceased mother: that her cells were alive and of great importance to modern science, being sent to the moon, injected into animals, and blown up by bombs.

In this medical humanities seminar, our two speakers will explore the relationship between the humanities, science, society, and self. Rob Mitchell considers the narrative forms that structure our understanding of the relationship between individual and collective health. Jane Thrailkill examines how, in the context of 20th century medical experimentation, science fiction and scientific fact become unnerving bedfellows. The backdrop of the Nuremburg Trials and the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiments provide a context for exploring ethical questions about rights, race, and the nature of personhood in postmodern times.

Topics and Speakers

Henrietta Lacks and the (Literary) Shape of Health and Sickness
Rob Mitchell, Associate Professor of English and Director, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Science and Cultural Theory, Duke University

Folklore, Fantasy, Fact: The Uncanny Narratives of Henrietta Lacks
Jane F. Thrailkill, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Admissions, English and Comparative Literature

Science, Society, & Self
A panel discussion with our speakers

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The Landscape of Immigration Policy in North Carolina

February 22, 2012
Hannah Gill, Assistant Director, Institute for the Study of the Americas and Director, The Latino Migration Project

Over recent decades, the Southeast has become a new frontier for Latin American migration to and within the United States, and North Carolina has had one of the fastest growing Latino populations in the nation. Hannah Gill will offer a better understanding of our new Latino neighbors, their motivations for moving to North Carolina, and the larger historical and social forces behind demographic shifts.

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2012 Election Season Essentials

February 29, 2012
Tom Carsey, Thomas J. Pearsall Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Director, Odum Institute for Research in Social Science

We kick off our 2012 Election Series by inviting distinguished scholar Tom Carsey back to Humanities in Action to get us up to speed with some of the polling data and trends that will inform the 2012 national elections. This is your chance to review the field and make some sense of the whirlwind of information (and misinformation) that will dominate the news cycle all year long.  This will be the first of our Election Series Humanities in Actionevent. Look for more in summer and fall 2012.

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Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility: Virtue or Vice?

March 21, 2012
Steven May, Associate Professor of Communication Studies

In the last decade, many business scandals as well as the recent economic meltdown have intensified public attention on corporate actions and the integrity of corporate leadership. Critics have questioned corporations’ impact on human rights, working conditions, pay equity, downsizing and outsourcing of jobs, environmental protection, and political influence in today’s global economy. Communication studies and business ethics expert Steven May will explore the relationship between business and society, corporate duty to the “public good,” and the interpersonal and inter-institutional conflicts that emerge when profits and social responsibility clash.

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The Arab Spring: Uprisings, Revolutions, and Wars

March 28, 2012
Andrew Reynolds, Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair, Global Studies Curriculum

Over 25,000 people have died in the dramatic uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East which are known as the Arab Spring. However, dictators have fallen in only four of the sixteen nations that saw protests begin in January 2011. It remains unclear whether democracy and stability will emerge throughout the region or if new forms of authoritarianism will take root leading to further conflict. Political scientist Andrew Reynolds, whose expertise was sought by the Transitional National Council of Libya, will be on hand to gauge the transformation in the Arab world and offer insights into the past, present and future of this movement.

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The Art of Controversy: Cultural Politics and Contemporary Art

April 18, 2012
Cary Levine, Assistant Professor of Art History

Artists often break rules. Indeed, Western art history can be understood as a history of rule-breaking. In the contemporary period, artists have not only continued this tradition, but often “upped the ante,” producing works of intense provocation and biting critique. Join art historian Cary Levine as he explores select ways that artists have used “controversial” acts and subject matter to challenge some of society’s most basic norms and ideals.

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Soviet Baby Boomers

February 14, 2012
Donald J. Raleigh, Jay Richard Judson Distinguished Professor of History

Join historian Don Raleigh as he traces the collapse of the Soviet Union and Russia’s transformation into a modern, highly literate, urban society through the fascinating life stories of the country’s first post-World War II, Cold War generation. Based on oral histories conducted with men and women who lived through this sea-change, this lecture will offer a wealth of insights and information on the Soviet citizens who witnessed firsthand the subtle but steady collapse of totalitarianism in the USSR during the post-Stalin era.  A companion to Professor Raleigh’s new book, Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of Russia’s Cold War Generation, this lecture serves as his GAA Passport Lecture for the summer 2012 excursion he will lead to Russia, “Waterways of Russia.”

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What ever happened to Sarajevo? A Look at Postwar Developments in the Former Yugoslavia

March 20, 2012
Robert Jenkins, Director, Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies

Throughout the Cold War, Yugoslavia remained proudly independent in a bipolar world. Beneath the surface, however, nationalist tensions were mounting. While the rest of the world celebrated the 1989 collapse of totalitarian regimes across Europe and the wave of democratization that accompanied it, Yugoslavia devolved into war, ethnic cleansing, and atrocities unseen in Europe since World War II. Robert Jenkins, Carolina’s resident expert on these events, will review what transpired in Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, and Kosovo over the 1990s, explain their significance, and look at the current state of the region.

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Sounds of War and Revolution: A Musical Perspective on the 20th Century

March 27, 2012
Annegret Fauser, Professor of Music and Adjunct Professor in Women’s Studies

What such political songs as the Internationale, concert pieces like Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, Eminem’s rap music, and Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries have in common is the fact that their sound world is intimately linked to the historic realities of war and revolution in the twentieth century. Annegret Fauser will discuss not only how these works are part of our recent histories, but also how they have become an intrinsic part of our historical soundtrack through constant media exposure.

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Henry VIII and Popular Tudorism

April 10, 2012
Tatiana String, Adjunct Associate Professor of Art History and History

What can explain popular culture’s perennial interest in particular eras of the past? Why did millions of people regularly tune into the stylized rendition of Henry VIII’s court in the popular television show, The Tudors?  A noteworthy scholarly trend in recent decades has been a growing interest in the ways in which societies utilize the past as a cultural resource, as a repertoire of quotable designs and styles, as a vantage point from which to frame political and social critiques, as a source of identities, and as a refuge from present-day anxieties. Tatiana String will explore the modern cultural appropriation of the Tudor age and the enduring popularity of the Tudors, with particular reference to representations of Henry VIII.

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How to Read the Qur’an

April 24, 2012
Carl Ernst, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies and Co-Director, Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations

Despite a high level of general anxiety about the very existence of the Qur’an, most people don’t have a sense of how one would read this book. How can one approach the Qur’an from a literary and historical perspective that is not embroiled in theological debates? Carl Ernst offers a chronological reading of the text as it unfolded over time, its relation with earlier writings, and the way it employs symmetrical composition (ring structure) to make points.

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