History of American Cities
HST 337U
USP 385U
Winter 2000


Instructor: Dr. Martha J. Bianco
Class Time: 8-9:50 a.m., T & Th
Class Location: SH 212
Office: UPA 314 (this will be changing sometime during this term)
Office Hours: 10-11 a.m., Tues; 2-3 pm Thurs., and by arrangement
Phone: 725-4050
E-Mail: biancom@pdx.edu

Objective: This is an upper-division undergraduate course whose purpose is to provide a survey of urban history in the United States from the colonial period through the end of the 20th century. Topics include colonial beginnings, westward expansion, the industrial city, changing technologies, changes in urban social and spatial structure, urban politics, migration and immigration, city boosterism, suburbanization, national urban policy, social movements, urban economic decline, and central city revitalization. There will be a special emphasis on issues of race, gender, and class as key factors in the evolution of American urban history.


Chudacoff, H.P., and J.E. Smith. The Evolution of American Urban Society. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2000 (5th edition).
Chudacoff, H.P., ed. Major Problems in American Urban History. Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath & Co., 1994.
Dreiser, Theodore. Sister Carrie. Doubleday, Page and Co., 1890. Reprint, Penguin Books, 1994.
Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle. Doubleday, Page and Co., 1906. Reprint, Penguin Books, 1986.

Lecture Guides:  Lecture guides, whose purpose is to facilitate notetaking during lecture and studying for exams, are available for downloading from the web, at http://www.upa.pdx.edu/MB/historyguides.html.


Exams:  There will be a midterm and a final exam, both consisting of three sections: multiple-choice, short answer, and essay. Study questions will be available ahead of time. The final exam will cover the period from the midterm on. No makeup exams will be given without a doctor’s excuse.

Reading Reflections:  Reflections on readings of two novels, Sister Carrie and The Jungle.  Reflections should be turned in on the dates indicated and cover the reading selections as indicated.

Special Project:  All students must complete one special project, as indicated later in this syllabus.


Midterm: 35%
Final: 35%
Reading Reflections: 15%
Special Project: 15%

Schedule and Readings:

Topic & Readings
 What's Due?
1/6/00 Introduction
Early Urban America, 1600-1820
1/11/00 Film: Chicago: Biography of a City (Part I) ¨ Chudacoff & Smith, pp. 1-64
¨ Sister Carrie, p. vii-xvi and Chs. I-V.
1/13/00 Film: Chicago: Biography of a City (Part II) ¨ Any one document, Ch. 2, Major Problems
¨ Any one essay, Ch. 2, Major Problems
¨ Any one document, Ch. 3, Major Problems
¨ Any one essay, Ch. 3, Major Problems
¨ Sister Carrie, Chs. VI-XI.
1/18/00 The Protoindustrial Era, 1770-1870
Film: I Remember Harlem ¨ Chudacoff & Smith, pp. 65-85
¨ Any one document, Ch. 2, Major Problems
¨ Any one essay, Ch. 4, Major Problems
¨ Sister Carrie, Chs. XII-XVI.
¨ The Jungle, p. vii-xxxii and Chs. 1-3.
Reading Reflection on Chs. I-XI, Sister Carrie
1/20/00 The Industrial Age, 1850-1920  ¨ Chudacoff & Smith, pp. 86-117
¨ The Jungle, Chs. 4-7.
1/25/00 The Industrial Age, 1850-1920 (cont'd) ¨ Any one document, Ch. 5, Major Problems
¨ Any one essay, Ch. 5, Major Problems
¨ Sister Carrie, Chs. XVII-XXI.
1/27/00 Immigration and Urban Society ¨ Chudacoff & Smith, pp. 118-156
¨ Any one document, Ch. 6, Major Problems
¨ Any one essay, Ch. 6, Major Problems
¨ Sister Carrie, Chs. XXII-XXVII.
¨ The Jungle, Chs. 8-12.
Reading Reflection on Chs. XI-XXVII, Sister Carrie and 1-12, The Jungle
Immigration and Urban Society
Film: 1880-1920: Immigration, New Work and New Roles 
¨ Sister Carrie, Chs. XXVIII-XXXII.
¨ The Jungle, Chs. 13-17.
Midterm Exam
2/8/00 Boss Politics ¨ Chudacoff & Smith, pp. 157-182
¨ Any one document, Ch. 7, Major Problems
¨ Any one essay, Ch. 7, Major Problems
¨ Sister Carrie, Chs. XXXIII-XXXVII.
¨ The Jungle, Chs. 18-21.
Reading Reflection on Chs. XXVII-XXXVII, Sister Carrie and 12-21, The Jungle
2/10/00 The Reform Era
Film: Scandalous Mayor ¨ Chudacoff & Smith, pp. 183-211
¨ Any one document, Ch. 8, Major Problems
¨ Any one essay, Ch. 8, Major Problems
¨ Sister Carrie, Chs. XXXVIII-XLII.
¨ The Jungle, Chs. 23-24.
2/15/00 The Reform Era (cont’d)
Film: The Women of Hull House ¨ Any one document, Ch. 9, Major Problems
¨ Any one document, Ch. 9, Major Problems
¨ Any one document, Ch. 10, Major Problems
¨ Any one essay, Ch. 10, Major Problems
¨ Sister Carrie, Chs. XLIII-XLVI.
¨ The Jungle, Chs. 25-27.
2/17/00 Metropolitan America ¨ Chudacoff & Smith, pp. 212-262
¨ Sister Carrie, Chs. XLVII-L.
¨ The Jungle, Chs. 28-31.
2/22/00 Metropolitan America (cont’d)
Film: New York, New Deal ¨ Any one document, Ch. 11, Major Problems
¨ Any one essay, Ch. 11, Major Problems
Reading Reflection on Chs. XXVIII-L, Sister Carrie and 22-31, The Jungle
2/24/00 The Post-War Era, 1945-1972 ¨ Chudacoff & Smith, pp. 263-296
2/29/00 The Post-War Era, 1945-1972 (cont’d) ¨ Any one document, Ch. 12, Major Problems
¨ Any one essay, Ch. 12, Major Problems
3/2/00 Film: Berkeley in the Sixties
Special Project Option 1-6
3/7/00 Postindustrial Urban America ¨ Chudacoff & Smith, pp. 297-318
¨ Any one document, Ch. 13, Major Problems
¨ Any one essay, Ch. 13, Major Problems
Postindustrial Urban America (cont’d)
Film: Road to the Future
¨ Any one document, Ch. 14, Major Problems
¨ Any one essay, Ch. 14, Major Problems
Final Examination (8 a.m.)

Reading Reflections

Reading reflections should be two to three pages each, double-spaced, with one-inch margins.  You need to be succinct and focus on the main ideas.

Reading reflections are meant to be an academic exercise, not an “op ed” piece, where you just share your feelings or offer unsubstantiated opinions. You need to reflect upon the reading material.  This means you should do the following:

It’s fine to offer a brief summary of the reading, but don’t just reiterate what the reading was about.  On the other hand, don’t simply discuss the ideas presented in the readings without any reference to the reading.  Your reflection should be a balance of your thoughtful consideration, with scholarly reference (i.e., proper citation) to the readings.

If you quote from the readings or otherwise wish to cite, use the following format.  Note the placement of periods and commas, as well as quotation marks.

According to Jones (1994, 8), transit’s decline is rooted in its history.  Others, however, assign more blame to current operating conditions (Smith 1998, 25; Johnson 1995, 154).  “Present mismanagement says more about transit’s unpopularity than its historical beginnings” (Smith 1998, 25).
If you do cite, you must include a List of References on the last page.

If you use a web source, use appropriate web-citation techniques.  The parenthetical reference should include the author, if known and the date. For example:

Bianco places special emphasis on the role of competition for mobile capital (Bianco 1998).
The reference list entry for this citation should include the author, if known; title of webpage; larger source, if known; URL; last date modified, if known or last date accessed. Much of this information can be found if you go to View on the menu bar and then select “Page Info.”  Type URLs in graphos font for best results.  Examples:
Bianco, Martha J. “The Role of Capital in Transit Development,” in “Martha Bianco’s Publications, [http://www.upa.pdx.edu/MB/role.html], last modified August 12, 1998.
“APTA Bylaws,” in “APTANet,” [http://www.apta.com/aptainfo/bylaws.htm], last modified September 17, 1999.
All reflections are due when noted in the syllabus: NO EXCEPTIONS. All projects will be graded for spelling, grammar, punctuation, citation format, and general style, as well as for substance.  Do a spelling and grammar check but also read your paper over yourself.  Spelling and grammar checks do not catch many types of errors, especially homonyms (there instead of their, for instance).

You may e-mail your reflections to me if you wish.  If you choose to e-mail reflections, please make sure they reach me by 5 pm the day before they are due in class.  You may include your reflection as typed text within the body of your e-mail or as a Word attachment.  Send it to biancom@pdx.edu.

Special Project

All students must complete a special project. You may choose from the options below.  All projects are due when noted in the syllabus: NO EXCEPTIONS. All projects will be graded for spelling, grammar, punctuation, citation format, and general style, as well as for substance. Please contact the Writing Center (e-mail: writingcenter@pdx.edu; phone: 725-3570) for assistance.  Plagiarism may result in an F on the paper and, in certain cases, an F in the course.

Option 1

Nonfiction Book Review: Read one of the works listed in the course bibliography and write a critical review essay of two to three double-spaced pages. "Critical" in this case does not necessarily mean negative, but, rather, thoughtful and analytical. For examples of how a critical review should read, see Telecommunications and The City: Electronic Spaces, Urban Places at http://www.unimelb.edu.au/infoserv/urban/hma/hurban/1997q4/0064.html or The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit at http://www.unimelb.edu.au/infoserv/urban/hma/hurban/1997q4/0111.html. This project is ideal for someone with an interest in a topic covered by one of the books in the bibliography and with well-grounded writing skills. Note in your essay the following points:

Title, author, date and place of publication
Book abstract (What is the book about, in general? What is its purpose?)
Book structure (how is the material organized?)
Intended audience (who is the best audience for this book?)
Important issues and themes related to urban phenomena (provide illustrative quotations to buttress your selection of issues and themes; don't forget proper citations!)
Your analytical discussion regarding the important issues and themes in the book (provide references to other readings in class)
What do you think the author has done particularly well?
What, if any, negative criticisms do you have of the book, given its intended audience?

Option 2

Urban Neighborhood History: Choose a neighborhood in the Portland (central city) area. Prepare a history of the neighborhood of approximately 5 double-spaced pages. Include maps, photos, and graphics, if appropriate and available. Consult the archives of The Oregonian, the library at the Oregon Historical Society, the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, and works on Portland history.

Option 3

History on the Web: Create your own web page chronicling the history of Portland, a neighborhood, or some other urban area of your choosing. This project is ideal for students who know how to make Web pages or want to take this opportunity to learn!  The site should include references (like a short bibliography or footnotes). Examples done in previous classes include:

Include short reviews of and links to the following websites:

Option 4

Adopt a City: Interested in the history of a city other than Portland? Choose the city (it should probably be a fairly major city, since histories of smaller cities are hard to come by), read at least two books about that city, and write a brief 5-page synopsis of that city's history. Be sure to focus on at least one of the perspectives of urban history emphasized in this class (immigration, politics/reform, planning, technology, urban form, central city decline/revitalization, etc.) and try to include race, gender, or class as a theme structuring your presentation.

Option 4

Poster Presentation: Create a poster (using poster board) chronicling the history of Portland, a neighborhood, or some other
urban area of your choosing. This project is ideal for someone with graphics, art, and/or photography skills or interests. The poster
may contain maps and photos, both old and new (an example might be a poster chronicling the morphogenesis of a neighborhood
using old photos and contemporary photos). The poster should also include a few pages of text as well as references (like a short
bibliography or footnotes).  An example of one done last term is outside my office door, UPA 314, entitled "A Morphogenesis of
Multnomah."  If you're interested in this project, you should see me to discuss the format.

Option 6

Propose a Project: Is there something else you'd like to do that isn't captured in the above 4 options, but seems to you like it would be a moderate-sized project resulting in about 5 double-spaced pages (or the equivalent amount of effort and product)? Write up a paragraph proposal and turn it in to me for approval by the third Tuesday of class.

Course Bibliography

Note: This is by no means a comprehensive urban history bibliography. It is intended to include some classics and important contemporary works, as well as works related to the topics of race, gender, and class. Thanks to Sam Bass Warner, Jr., whose syllabus provided many of the following titles, at [gopher://h-net2.msu.edu:70/00/lists/H-URBAN/teach/syllabi/us/gen/warner]

If you have no background in urban history or are especially interested in Portland:

Abbott, Carl, Portland: Planning, politics, and growth in a twentieth-century city (1983)
Jane Jacobs, Cities and the wealth of nations (1984)
E. Kimbark MacColl, The growth of a city: Power and politics in Portland, Oregon , 1915-1950 (1976)
E. Kimbark MacColl, The shaping of a city: Business and politics in Portland, Oregon 1885-1915 (1976)
James E. Vance, Jr., This scene of man: The role and structure of the city in the geography of western civilization (1977)
Sam Bass Warner, Jr., The urban wilderness: A history of American city (1972)
Craig Wollner, The city builders: One hundred years of union carpentry in Portland, Oregon (1990)
Craig Wollner, Electrifying Eden: Portland General Electric, 1889-1965 (1990)

The following books are divided into rough chronological order(some overlap)

To 1900:

Gunther Barth, City people: The rise of modern city culture in nineteenth century America (1979)
Thomas Bender, Community & social change in America (1978)
Barbara Berg, The remembered gate: Origins of American feminism -- The woman and the city, 1800-1860 (1978)
Ira Berlin and Ronald Hoffman, eds., Slavery and freedom in the age of the American Revolution (1983)
Henry Binford, The first suburbs: Residential communities on the Boston periphery, 1815-1860 (1985)
Nancy Cott, The bonds of womanhood: 'Women's sphere' in New England, 1780-1835 (1971)
Paul Gilje, The road to mobocracy: Popular disorder in New York City, 1763-1834 (1987)
Robert Ernst, Immigrant life in New York City, 1825-1863 (1949)
Joyce Goodfriend, Before the melting pot: Society and culture in colonial New York City, 1664-1730 (1991)
Dolores Hayden, The grand domestic revolution: A history of feminist designs for American homes, neighborhoods. and cities (1981)
Michael B. Katz, Micheal J. Doucet, and Mark J. Stern, The social organization of early industrial capitalism (1982)
Lewis Mumford, Roots of Contemporary American Architecture (1952)
Gary B. Nash, Red, white, and black: The peoples of early America (1982)
Gary B. Nash, The urban crucible: Social change, political consciousness and the origins of the American revolution (1979)
William D. Piersen, Black Yankees: The development of an Afro-American subculture in eighteenth century New England (1983)
John Reps, Town planning in frontier America (1969)
Moses Rischin, The promised city: New York's Jews 1870-1914 (1963)
David R. Roediger, The wages of whiteness: Race and the making of the American working class (1991)
Alexander Saxton, The rise and fall of the white republic: Class politics and mass culture in nineteenth century America (1990)
Christine Stansell, City of women: The female laboring poor in New York City, 1789-1860 (1986)
Graham Taylor, Satellite cities, a study of industrial suburbs (1915, reprint 1970)
Jon C. Teaford, The unheralded triumph: City government in America, 1870-1900 (1984)
Laura Thatcher Ulrich, Good wives: Images and reality in the lives of women in Northern New England, 1650-1750 (1982)
Richard C. Wade, The urban frontier: 1790-1830 (1957)
Sam Bass Warner, Streetcar suburbs: The process of change in Boston, 1870-1900 (1962)
Shane White, Somewhat more independent: The end of slavery in New York City, 1770-1810 (1991)
Sean Wilentz, Chants democratic: New York City and the rise of the American working class (1984)


Jane Addams, Twenty years at Hull House (1910)
Pau Barrett, The automobile and urban transit: The formation of public policy in Chicago, 1900-1930 (1983)
Richard C. Berner, Seattle 1900-1920: From boomtown, urban turbulence, to restoration (1991)
John Bodnar, Roger Simon & Michael P. Weber, Lives of their own: Blacks, Italians. and Poles in Pittsburgh 1870-1940 (1977)
Mari Jo Buhle, Women and American Socialismm, 1870-1920 (1981)
Alexander B. Callow, Jr., The tweed ring (1966)
Charles W. Cheape, Moving the masses: Urban public transit in New York, Boston. and Philadelphia, 1880-1912 (1980)
Michael H. Ebner, Creating Chicago's North Shore: A suburban history (Chicago, 1988)
Michael H. Ebner and Eugene Tobin, eds., The age of urban reform: New perspectives on the Progressive era (1977)
Mathew Edel, Elliot D. Sclar, and Daniel Luria, Shakey palaces: Home ownership and social mobility in Boston's suburbanization (1984)
Robert Fishman, Bourgeois utopias: The rise and fall of suburbia (1987)
Robert Fogelson, The fragmented metropolis: Los Angeles (1977)
Richard E. Fogelsong, Planning the capitalist city: The colonial era to 1920 (1986)
Timothy J. Gilfolyle, City of eros: New York City, prostitution, and the commercialization of sex, 1790-1920 (1992)
John Higham, Strangers in the land: Patterns of American nativism 1860-1925 (1963)
William Issel and Robert Cherny, San Francisco, 1865-1932: Politics, power, and urban development (1986)
Richard W. Judd, Socialist cities: Municipal politics and the grass roots of American Socialism (1989)
Roy Lubove, The Progressive and the slums: Tenement house reform in New York City 1890-1917 (1962)
Eric H. Monkkonen, Police in urban America, 1860-1920 (1981)
Gilbert Osofsky, Harlem: The making of a ghetto; Negro New York, 1890-1930 (1966)
William L. Riordon, Plunkeet of Tammany Hall (1963)
Mel Scott, American city planning since 1890 (1971)
Alan Spear, Black Chicago: The making of a Negro ghetto (1967)
Joel Tarr, Transportation innovation and changing spatial patterns: Pittsburgh, 1850-1910 (1972)
William H. Wilson, The City Beautiful movement (1989)
Gwendolyn Wright, Building the dream: A social history of housing in America (1981)


Joseph Barton, Peasants and strangers: Italians, Romanians, and Slovaks in an American city, 1900-1950 (1975)
Ronald H. Bayor, Neighbors in conflict: The Irish, Germans, Jews, and Italians of New York City, 1929-1941 (1979)
Susan P. Benson, Counter cultures: Saleswomen, managers, and customers in American department stores, 1890-1940 (1986)
M. Christine Boyer, Dreaming the rationale city: The myth of American city planning (1983)
Robert A. Caro, The power broker: Robert Moses and the fall of New York (1974)
Galen Cranz, The politics of park design: A history of urban parks in America (1982)
Ronald Edsforth, Class conflict and cultural consensus: The making of a mass consumer society in Flint, Michigan (1987)
Lewis A. Erenberg, Steppin' out: New York nightlife and the transformation of American culture (1981)
Mark Foster, From streetcar to superhighway: American city planners and urban transportation, 1900-1940 (1981)
Kenneth T. Jackson, The Ku KIux Klan in the city, 1915-1930 (1967)
Kenneth T. Jackson, Crabgrass frontier: Surburbanization of the United States (1985)
Ira Katznelson, City trenches: Urban politics and the patterning of class in the United States (1981)
Joanne Meyerowitz, Women adrift: Independent wage earners in Chicago, 1880-1930 (1988)
William D. Miller, Harsh and dreadful love: Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement (1973)
William H. Mullins, The Depression and the urban West Coast, 1920-1933: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland (1991)
Harold L. Platt, The electric city: Energy and the growth of the Chicago area, 1880-1930 (1991)
Judith E. Smith, Family connections: A history of Italian and Jewish immigrant lives in Providence, Rhode Island, 1900-1940 (1985)
John Stack, International conflict in an American city: Boston's Irish, Italians and Jews, 1935-1944 (1970)
Clarence Stein, Toward New Towns for America (1957)
Sam Bass Warner, The private city. Philadelphia in three periods of its growth (Revised ed., 1987)

1940 to the present

Carl Abbott, The new urban America: Growth and politics in sunbelt cities (1981)
Michael Bernick, Urban Illusions: New approaches to inner city unemployment (1987)
John C. Bollens & Henry J. Schmandt, The Metropolis: People, politics, and economic life (4th ed., 1982)
Ruth Schwartz Cowan, More work for mother: The ironies of household technology from the open hearth to the microwave (1983)
Roger Daniels, Asian Americans: Chinese and Japanese in the United States since 1850 (1988)
Mike Davis, City of quartz: Excavating the future in Los Angeles (1990)
John D'Emilio, Sexual politics, sexual communities: The making of a homosexual subculture in the United States, 1945-1970 (1983)
Bernard J. Frieden & Lynne B. Sagalyn, Downtown. Inc.: How America rebuilds cities (1990)
Susan S. Fainstein, Norman I. Fainstein, Richard Child Hill, Dennis R. Judd, and Michael Peter Smith, Restructuring the city (1986)
Robert Fisher, Let the people decide: Neighborhood organizing in America (1984)
Robert Fogelson, Violence as protest: A study of riots and ghettos (1971)
Joel Garreau, Edge city: Life on the new frontier (1991)
Mark I. Gelfand, A nation of cities: the federal government and urban America, 1933-1965 (1975)
Paul & Percival Goodman, Communitas: Means of livelihood and ways of life (1947)
Michael Harrington, The Other America: Poverty in the United States (1962)
Dolores Hayden, Redesigning the American dream: The future of housing. work and family life (1984)
John Herbers, The new heartland: America's flight beyond the suburbs and how it is changing our future (1988)
Ruth Horowitz, Honor and the American dream: Culture and identity in a Chicano community (1983)
Jane Jacobs, The death and life of great American cities (1961)
Ira Katznelson, City trenches: Urban politics and the patterning of class conflict (1981)
John Mollenkpf, The contested city (1983)
Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, Poor people's movements: Why they succeed and how they fail (1979)
Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, Regulating the poor: The function of public welfare (1971)
Elizabeth H. Pleck, Black migration and poverty in Boston (1979)
Roger Lotchin, ed., The martial metropolis: American cities in war and peace (1984)
Vicki L. Ruiz, Cannery women, canner lives: Mexican women, unionization, and the California food procedding industry, 1930-1950 (1987)
Mark Rose, Interstate: Express highway politics 1941-1956
Allen J. Scott, Metropolis: From the division of labor to urban form (1986)
Neil Smith & Peter Williams, Gentrification of the city (1986)
Jon C. Teaford, City and suburb: The political fragmentation of modern America 1850-1970 (1979)
Jon C. Teaford, The rough road to renaissance: Urban revitalization in America, 1940-1985 (1990)
Stephen Thernstrom, The other Bostonians: Poverty and progress in an American metropolis, 1880-1970 (1970)
Seymour Toll, Zoned America (1969)


Plagiarism is a very serious offense.  However, many university students do not know what it is or do not realize that they are committing plagiarism when, in fact, they are.  Please read the paragraph below, defining plagiarism.  If you have any questions at all about whether something consitutes plagiarism, contact me immediately.

Plagiarism is the representation of the words or ideas of another as one's own in any academic exercise. To avoid plagiarism,     every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks or by appropriate indentation and must be promptly cited in the text or in a footnote. Acknowledgment is required when material from another source is stored in print, electronic, or other medium      and is paraphrased or summarized in whole or in part in one's own words. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might      state: "to paraphrase Plato's comment..."; and conclude with a footnote identifying the exact reference. A footnote      acknowledging only a directly quoted statement does not suffice to notify the reader of any preceding or succeeding      paraphrased material. Information which is common knowledge, such as names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc., need not be footnoted; however, all facts or information obtained in reading or research that are not common     knowledge among students in the course must be acknowledged. In addition to materials specifically cited in the text, only     materials that contribute to one's general understanding of the subject may be acknowledged in the bibliography. Plagiarism can,  in some cases, be a subtle issue. Any questions about what constitutes plagiarism should be discussed with the faculty member  [Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey Campus, Policy for Academic Integrity for Undergraduate and Graduate  Students, p. 3D (accessed September 22, 1997); available at http://history.rutgers.edu/undergraduate/courses/plag.htm;  Internet.].
Be aware that documents downloaded from the Internet should be treated with the same respect as any other source in terms of plagiarism.  Any use of Internet sources is subject to proper citation procedures. 
Questions about this course?
E-mail me at biancom@pdx.edu

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