Graduate Student Interests

PhD Students

Drew Danielle Belsky
Building on my training in fine arts (ESAD-Strasbourg) and interdisciplinary research in Fine Arts, Critical Disability Studies, and STS (York), my research interests revolve around bodies and visual production. Previous and ongoing projects address mobilizations of disabled bodies in contemporary art and aspects of consent in research and in art production. My doctoral work is primarily concerned with the practices, pedagogy, and professionalization of medical illustrators in Canada from the 20th century to the present. I am interested in the relevance of this under-documented predominantly female profession to the production and dissemination of canonical bodies in medicine and broader culture.

E–mail: dbelsky@yorku.ca
Website: yorku.academia.edu/DrewDanielleBelsky


Jordan Bimm
My forthcoming dissertation, Making Astronauts, focuses on the construction of the American astronaut during the early cold war in the related fields of space medicine, space psychology, and human factors engineering. I currently hold the HSS/NASA Fellowship in the History of Space Science (2014-2015). Previously my research has been funded by a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2013-2014) and Ontario Graduate Scholarships (2011-2013). Recent publications include: “Rethinking The Overview Effect” (2014) in Quest: The History of Spaceflight, which was awarded the 2013 Sacknoff Prize for Space History, and “Primate Lives in Early American Space Science” (2013), also in Quest. My research has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Fast Company, Slate, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, The Life Sciences Podcast, Maclean’s, Metro Toronto, El Mundo, and YorkU Magazine.

E–mail: jbimm@yorku.ca


Yana Boeva
My research interests broadly focus on the DIY production of information and communication technologies. Specifically, I am interested in the development of tools for critical and reflective making such as hardware, software and collaboration platforms, and in the impact of hands-on practices on the relations between technology and society. My interdisciplinary research intersects the fields of human-computer interaction, STS, philosophy, media studies, critical theory, material cultures, design history, and practical hands-on training. Scholarship: Ontario Trillium Scholarship.

E–mail: yaboeva@yorku.ca


Peggy Chiappetta

Broadly, I’m interested in translational science and cancer biology, intellectual property, and the political economics of pharmaceutical development. Specifically, I’m studying the role played by open and proprietary mediating devices in the development of cancer therapeutics in Ontario. Given the continual need for refinements of research practices and the growing demand for novel cancer therapies, it’s worth examining the implications of open versus proprietary IP on the dynamics of research and development, and asking which is most conducive to increasing collaboration and innovation in the context of cancer research.

E–mail: mec19@yorku.ca


Kasey Coholan
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My research focuses on the history of modern technology and how it reflects and influences how we understand, see and seek the self. I consider both primary phenomena of how specific technologies have held particular sway over how we fashion the self, including photography, biometrics and self-tracking applications as well as secondary epiphenomena, for instance, the rhetorical similarities between how we talk about machines and ourselves with notions of potential, failure and objectivity.

E–mail: kasey@yorku.ca


Angela Cope
My PhD research interests lie in a material which has always been on the periphery of my studies in Environment, Health and Culture, but never in the foreground: Plastic. Plastic is a slippery subject, as it is a diverse and evolving species of material. From the cellophane wrapper found on a pack of gum to the plastic and carbon fibre composites found in advanced prostheses, plastic has a diversity of uses and associations that are unparalleled in human history. Plastic is also, by way of BPA water bottles and can linings, present in most human and non–human bodies, causing largely unknown effects. Plastic is therefore a good material to think with when it comes to the fuzzy boundaries between the human/object; trash/not–trash world.

Through theoretical engagements with Actor–Network Theory, post-humanism and the culture of everyday life, I want to document plastic’s fall from grace: from the revolutionary and utopian material of the early 20th century to the reviled and despised material of today.

E–mail: angecope@yorku.ca


Catherine Duchastel
My research is on online fanfiction communities, more specifically on disabled fans and fanfiction producers who contribute to disability representation and accessibility. My interests in fanfiction and fans have evolved from ongoing work in cultural analysis of disability narrative in popular culture, especially TV shows, to transform into a concern for how they were being taken up by audiences through new media and participatory cultural practices, as well as from my long-time love of fanfiction, as a disabled fan myself. I started my research project during my Masters, and in my doctoral studies, I am further developing it through an examination of how technologies and the development of online community standards around accessibility contribute to the development of disability narratives and identities in fanfiction communities. I use theoretical frameworks and insights from Critical Disability Studies, fan studies and STS to examine the significance of disabled fans and fanfiction producers to developing the presence of disability as subversive political embodiment in digital environments.

Website: yorku.academia.edu/CatherineDuchastel
E–mail: crip1969@yorku.ca


Dorian Deshauer
I am interested in clinical trials as historical artifacts that simultaneously reflect and shape health perceptions, linking the processes of medical knowledge–making to the utilitarian goal of scientifically based medical policy. The specific case that interests me stems in part from material I dealt with in my masters thesis in epidemiology. It is a controversial experiment for testing lithium maintenance therapy in the 1960’s that lent credence to the term ‘lithium responder’, bolstering a particular way of thinking about risk management in mental medicine. Lithium maintenance trials became the prototype for all psychopharmacological maintenance trials in the 20th century and I will argue that the search for the 'lithium responder', a conceptual by–product of maintenance trials, became the barycenter of mental medicine for more than three decades.

E–mail: deshauer@yorku.ca


Bretton Fosbrook
Bretton's dissertation, "'Beyond 'Predict and Control': Making Scenarios for Uncertain Futures," explores the development of corporate scenario planning, focusing on how mid-to-late-twentieth century business strategists reconfigured experimental and intuitive techniques from the human sciences as a way to think about possible futures. Bretton joins cultural histories of technology and innovation with scholarship engaging the politics of technoscience. He was awarded a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship from SSHRC.

Website: http://bfosbrook.com
E–mail: bfosbro@yorku.ca


Erin Grosjean

My doctoral research explores developments within physical anthropology, as well as its wider social history that have led to the systematic study of human decomposition in a laboratory setting. With specific focus on the ‘Body Farm’ at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville – the first research facility of its kind, I look at their work with the dead as scientific practice, the body farm as a site where scientific expertise is determined and granted, as well as its unique position as a place where the interests and activities of science, the law, and the wider public intersect. Beyond my interest in the study of human decomposition, I am more generally interested in scientific practice and the production of scientific knowledge, death studies, the history of science and medicine (pre-Early Modern), and Victorian science. I have also been working with the John Tyndall Correspondence Project as an Editorial Assistant (Vol. 4) and, more recently, in an administrative capacity.

E-mail: grosjea2@yorku.ca


Jason Grier
My primary academic interest is in the origins of scientific authority and the role of the scientific audience. While much of the literature of scientific authority and objectivity has focused on the nineteenth century, it was during the eighteenth century that 'science' became an authority in the public sphere. In my dissertation I plan to explore the transition of science from marginal to central in the making and measuring knowledge.

E–mail: jgrier@yorku.ca


Julia Gruson–Wood
I am interested in examining how contemporary science and technology implicates classifications of human variability in terms of how certain bodies and selves come to be valued as normal/ideal or devalued as impaired/deficient. To explicate the value-laden meanings relating to human variability embedded in techno-culture, I cultivate a correspondence between science and technology inventions and the extrapolation of these inventions with the various imaginations presented in science fiction texts.

E–mail: juliagw@yorku.ca


Matthew Burns

Though my interests are eclectic, I am generally critical of method. Because of this, I tend take greatest interest in works within the philosophy of science. My current research is directed to topics relevant within and around the rationality of science, under determination, realism, prediction, scientific change.

E-mail: burnsm4@yorku.ca


Michael Laurentius

My current research primarily focuses on examining the existence of and shifts and tensions within Canada's atomic cultural history, narratives, and imaginaries during the period that roughly corresponds with America's Early and High Atomic Culture (1942 - 1963). In other words, how were atomic science and technology present within the Canadian social and cultural mindset? Secondarily, I am interested in how classical modernist thought was questioned and reframed within middle powers via a combination of Cold War narratives and technoscientific projects. In particular, how did controlled optimism, anxiety, and moral outrage lead to reframed notions of modernity within the public sphere? I am also interested in the possibility of retrofuturism (atompunk) as a means of critique and historical revisionism.
Prior to pursuing doctoral studies within the department, I received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Bioinformatics & AI) and a Master of Arts within Science and Technology Studies.E-mail: mlaurent@yorku.ca

Travis Hnidan
My research interests include anthropology, cultural and media studies, and critical pedagogy. Currently, I am focused on the engineering profession and engineers’ work to regulate themselves, other professionals, engineering businesses, engineering professional bodies, and engineering education institutions in Canada. By focusing on professional regulation, my research captures the wide and varied scope of engineering practice under the singular term “engineering” in a way that clarifies what it is that engineers actually do. My research connects this idea to public perception and understanding of engineering (through film and media studies) and the contemporary reevaluation of Canadian engineering education. Building on my background in civil engineering, I am working with York University’s new Lassonde School of Engineering to complete my research.

E–mail: hnidan@yorku.ca


Tyler Hnatuk

My research in the history of classification and the human sciences aims to detail the interactions between the built-environment, 'human kinds' and cognitive developments in the sciences. In particular, I am interested in the influence of 'place-based services' on modalities of care in Canada.

Bernhard Isopp
I am interested in the popular understanding of science; debates over climate change; history of ecology and the environmental sciences; philosophical naturalism; instrumentalism and pragmatism in the philosophy of science; and interactions between the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.

E–mail: bisopp@yorku.ca


Nanna Kaalund
I am interested in the history of Victorian science, environmental history, science communication and transnational history. In addition, I am interested in periodical studies and digital humanities. In recent years, I have been working on outreach projects such as the Aarhus University Climate Secretariat and Darwin in Denmark (www.darwinarkivet.dk, www.evolution.dk/)

E–mail: nannaklk@yorku.ca


Duygu Kasdogan
I am interested in energy sciences and technologies, intersections of ecology and economy, and contested sustainability discourses and practices. My research draws on the history and anthropology of science, plant studies, political ecology, and feminist studies on affect. My dissertation project investigates slippery and promising translations of algae for sustainability at a time of climate change in and between the domains of science, industry, and art. This investigation primarily bases on fieldwork conducted in the United States and Turkey.

E–mail: kasdogan@yorku.ca


Kelly Ladd
My research interests include the history of computer mediated communication technologies and the production of gendered textual bodies; social networking technologies and the ways in which socially networked bodies transgress the material and the virtual divide; and the material effects of the textualization of life.

E–mail: kladd@yorku.ca


Ellie Louson
My research deals with wildlife films and their representation of animal behaviour. This interdisciplinary project draws on the wildlife film genre's heritage in natural history, documentary film theory, interviews with Canadian wildlife and environmental filmmakers, and analysis of the wildlife films of the twenty-first century.

Website: yorku.academia.edu/EleanorLouson
E–mail: elouson@yorku.ca


Francesc Rodriguez Mansilla
I have quite a few research interests, from history to philosophy to the sociology of science, but most of my work has focused on the relation between science and the rest of society. In the earliest years of my academic studies, I considered the technicalities of participatory mechanisms in science at the institutional level (e.g. science shops). Later, I broadened the scope of my research to investigate, in normative terms, the pedagogical and political implications of these and other forms of knowledge production to the interrelated spheres of nature and society.

In my PhD dissertation, I draw on socio-technical and environmental imaginaries to explore the various roles played by science and other forms of knowledge in a controversy over construction plans for several run-of-the-river power plants in southern Costa Rica.

E–mail: frodrig@yorku.ca


Cameron Michael Murray
I have a broad range of interdisciplinary research interests that combine methodological approaches to media studies, STS, and the anthropology of science. These interests include: large-scale genomics and proteomics research projects in Canada; the use of virtual reality technologies in biomedical research; and the social and ethical implications of Canada's biomedical research funding infrastructures. For my proposed doctoral research, I will undertake a multi-sited ethnography that explores the social, cultural, political and economic contexts in which human bodies, biomedical databases, visualization technologies, and clinical environments are being reimagined and reconfigured by bioinformaticians working in the emerging cross-disciplinary field of translational science. I am particularly interested in exploring how bioinformaticians determine what is worthy of ethical care and attention in diverse sites of translational research.

E–mail: cmurra@yorku.ca


Jovian Parry
I do critical animal studies, science fiction studies, and material feminist ecocriticism. My dissertation, "Edible Agencies: Meat in SF" (in progress) traces the intra-action of environmental and ethical discourses through representations of comsetible flesh in post-WWII science fiction.

E–mail: jovian@yorku.ca


Lina Pinto Garcia
Drawing on my background in biology (BSc), biotechnology (MSc), science communication (graduate diploma), and STS (MA), my PhD research focuses on the intersection between biomedicine, public health, violence and the aspirational logics of peacebuilding. Specifically, I ethnographically study the relationship between a vector-borne disease–cutaneous leishmaniasis–and the Colombian armed conflict, and the implications for combatants and civilians coexisting with warfare. My dissertation is situated between two interrelated fields of social research: critical medical anthropology and STS. Across them, three subfields frame my project: (1) Anthropology of the state; (2) Embodiments of war and violence; and (3) Multispecies ethnography of vector-borne diseases. In addition, I am interested in transdisciplinary approaches to science, such as community-based participatory research, aiming to produce scientific knowledge and applications that are attentive and responsive to the needs of marginalized populations.


Vennila Rajaguru

I am a Board Director of Science for Peace (Canada), and the Chair of a pan-university research-working group on Ocean Frontiers under Science for Peace. Am also serving currently as an honorary council member of the International Peace Bureau (Geneva); and was previously the honorary Chair of ASEAN Secretariat Women’s Wing (ASEAN) 2009-2011. Recently, I have been contracted as a Course Director at York for the following undergraduate courses: ‘Science and Technology Issues in Global Development’ (Dept. of Science & Technology Studies), ‘Natural Resource Management’ (Environmental Studies), and ‘History of the Environment’ (Natural Science). I have also been included as part of a working group member of an international research caucus on Science, Technology and Art in International Relations (STAIR), chartered in the U.S. under the International Studies Association, and also a member of the Extractive Industries Research Network.

My educational background is in Science & Technology Studies, International Law and International Development. My former degrees are from the University of Oxford and Cornell. I have received the Vivienne-Poy Award for doctoral research on Asia in 2016, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship for doctoral research in 2014, and the Rhodes scholarship in 1992. My previous work experience spans public communications, community outreach, and corporate social responsibility consulting. After getting back to academia, my research focus is on the S & T of transboundary infrastructure development, particularly those concerning maritime regions, peace regimes, regional and international security. My publications include a book of poems, research based articles on the socio-politics of Southeast Asia, and on the S & T of artificial island constructions.

E-mail: venilla@yorku.ca


Sheri Repucci
My basic fields of interest are the history of medicine, environmental psychology, and landscape architecture. In particular I study the role of nature and landscapes in western medicine, from the nineteenth century to the present, focusing on patterns of rejection and resurgence in this 150 year time frame in the context of professionalization and boundary-work disputes. My dissertation is currently titled Gardens as Medical Technology: The use of gardens and landscapes as a technique of healing in Western medicine, 19th – 21st centuries.

E–mail: srepucci@yorku.ca


Emily Simmonds
My research interests include biopolitics; nuclear technologies; feminist theory; classification practices; materiality and identity formation. Working under the supervision of Professor Aryn Martin, my research explores these interests by examining the spatial arrangements and narratives enacted by Canadian nuclear medical infrastructures. As an anthropologist I employ an ethnographic mode of analysis that is attentive to the complex ways in which various groups seize upon scientific results and nuclear bio technologies to advance competing and overlapping goals within shifting political landscapes.

E–mail: astrajean@gmail.com


Callum C. J. Sutherland
My forthcoming dissertation, “Sockeye at the boundary: Aboriginal knowledge, the Great Divide, and the Calgary School”, explores the precipitous, decades-long decline of Fraser River sockeye salmon in general, and the proceedings of the ensuing judicial inquiry in particular (i.e., the Cohen Commission). These proceedings, I will argue, both reflected and reified the primacy of abstract conceptions of sockeye, while simultaneously acknowledging and discrediting local conceptions of the same. I will demonstrate that, absent these local perspectives, our present understanding of the sockeye salmon crisis is incomplete at best. It is partially on this basis that I will contend, more broadly, that democratization should be treated as an essential component of, and not an impediment to, the development of equitable, judicious, and effective public science policy.

 CV: callumsutherland.com
E–mail: ccjsuth@yorku.ca


Jeffrey Wajsberg
An ever-moving target, my research is usually anchored by one question: How has the discipline of linguistics, over the course of the past century, become a public science and linguists spokespersons for the mind? To investigate, I focus on an early 20th-century entanglement of language and mind: the linguistic relativism hypothesis. Often attributed to American anthropologists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf, the hypothesis suggests that the language we speak in some way influences the way we think or perceive. My interest in linguistic relativity is not to evaluate its truth claims, but to consider the movement of a science in/of translation. Namely, I trace how these anthropological linguists assembled evidence of experience in the field, often by coordinating “language games” with their research subjects, and later rematerialized these bodies of evidence as bounded entities called languages. My project is generously supported by a SSHRC Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2013–2016), and with the added support of the Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, I am scheduled to conduct archival research abroad at Yale University, Spring 2015.

E-mail: jeffwajs@yorku.ca

 


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MA Students

Susan Tarnow

Zayneb Ebrahem

Katrina Hall


Hanna Moldavski

My primary research interest is the relationship between genetic tests and human identity. More specifically, I am interested in how and why human behavior changes occur in response to the results of genealogical DNA tests. My additional interests include the use of technology in psychology research as well as history of medical practices in western cultures.

E-mail: hannamol@my.yorku.ca


Madelaine Khan
Broadly speaking, I'm interested in the effects of technology (in particular, Internet access) on the development of the self. I'm especially interested in examining this phenomenon in the contexts of online gaming communities, social media platforms, and mental health initiatives. Some research questions I'm considering for my major research paper include: Do people adopt different personalities online and offline, and how does this affect individuals and society? Is there a core self, or is it socially-constructed? How does Internet access shape our mental faculties?
These questions centre around issues regarding the plasticity of human cognition and how the human brain's ability to process information is affected by external phenomena. These issues have existed since the sixteenth century, when philosophers such as Francis Bacon and John Locke pondered how factors such as complex language, the brain's ability to process information, and an individual's level of education, can influence their understanding of the world.

Milan Tepic

Julia Murphy


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Major Research Papers (MA) & Dissertations

Nathan Crain, "Essence and Obsolescence: Martin Heidegger’s Outsider Critique of Technology" (MRP, 2015)
Supervisor: Prof Edward Jones-Imhotep

Lindsay Small, "Space Museums: Technical and Cultural Considerations" (MRP, 2015)
Supervisor: Prof Steve Alsop

Steve Cornwell, "Vibrant projects, vibrant resistance: Understanding opposition to major energy projects through effective and affective prescriptions" (MRP, 2015)
Supervisor: Prof Steve Alsop

William Atkinson, "Help Thou my Belief:  Roots and Branches of Scientistic Atheism" (MRP, 2015)
Supervisor: Prof Bernard Lightman

Mark Marshall, "Canadian Science Underground: the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Experiment and the “Missing Solar Neutrino Problem”" (MRP, 2015)
Supervisor: Prof Edward Jones-Imhotep

Roula Faraj, "What Did Mathematics Do to Physics? Redux - Constructivist Epistemology, Ontology and the Quantification of Space" (MRP, 2015)
Supervisor: Prof Bernard Lightman

Tyler Hnatuk, "Classification and the Human Sciences in the Early History of the Huronia Regional Centre" (MRP, 2015)
Supervisor: Prof Mike Pettit

Alexis Beckett, "Recalled to life: The afterlife performances of animal specimens in
museums" (MRP, 2014)
Supervisor: Prof Steve Alsop

Edward Fenner, “Smashing Atoms and Expectations: Entrepreneurial Science and the Dawn of Publicly Funded High-Tech Venture Capital at Robert J. Van de Graaff’s High Voltage Engineering Corporation” (MRP, 2014) www.yorku.ca/efenner/
Supervisor: Prof Katharine Anderson

Alexander Gatien, “From Operations Research to Systems Analysis: The Science of War in the United Kingdom and the United States 1936-1961: The Science of Warfare and the Power of Numbers” (MRP, 2014)
Supervisor: Prof Edward Jones-Imhotep

Erin Grosjean, “Intersections at the Body Farm: The Anthropology Research Facility as a Trading Zone” (MRP, 2014)
Supervisor: Prof Kenton Kroker

Serena Naim, “Disabling Bodies: Disabling Normalities” (MRP, 2014)
Supervisor: Prof Eric Mykhalovskiy

Lina Pinto Garcia, “Cutaneous leishmaniasis and the Colombian armed conflict: other shades of violence” (MRP, 2014)
Supervisor: Prof Eric Mykhalovskiy

Adam Taves, “Canadian Scholarly Societies in the History and Philosophy of Science” (MRP, 2014)
Supervisor: Prof Kenton Kroker

Micah Anshan, "Evidence-Based' or Based on Evidence?: Assessing the Debate over Canada's Harm-reduction Evaluations" (MRP, 2013)
Supervisor: Prof Eric Mykhalovskiy

James Fensom, "The Samplescape: the DJ-producer's contributing role of constructing hyperschizophonia in the music industry through a sought-after live performance and digital sampling technologies" (MRP, 2013)
Supervisor: Prof Richard Jarrell

Loren Husband, "Let’s Unmask Mental Illness Awareness Week, Now!
Self-Stigma and Cultivations of Self in Canada’s First National, Mental Health, Anti-Stigma Campaign" (MRP, 2013)
Supervisor: Prof Mike Pettit

Parandis Khavari, "The Implications of the Discovery of Extraterrestrial on Abrahamic Religions" (MRP, 2013)
Supervisor: Prof Bernie Lightman

Callum Sutherland, "The Fraser River: Where Epistemologies Collide" (MRP, 2013)
Supervisor: Prof Richard Jarrell

Michael Bouchey, "Sustainable Space Development" (MRP, 2012)
Supervisor: Prof Kathryn Denning

Brittney Fosbrook, "Locating the Future: Disruptive Technologies and Breakthrough Philanthropy in Silicon Valley" (MRP, 2012)
Supervisor: Prof Natasha Myers

Richard Gignac, "Thomas Szasz and Anti-Psychiatric Sentiment in 20th Century America" (MRP, 2012)
Supervisor: Prof Kenton Kroker

Mohammadreza Nikdehghan, "Expert and Lay Dynamics in Canadian Cancer Research Funding" (MRP, 2012)
Supervisor: Prof Darrin Durant

Douglas Paul, "The Public's Understanding of Technology and the Cell Phone" (MRP 2012)
Supervisor: Prof Steve Alsop

Shivrang Setlur, "Making India Smart: Regimes of Testing and Technical Education in India's Planned Modernization" (MRP, 2012)
Supervisor: Prof Michael Pettit

David Larocque, "Canadian Health Science: A Contemporary Account of Federal Health Research Strategies Using a Big Science Framework" (MRP, 2011)
Supervisor: Prof Richard Jarrell

Raymond MacKinnon, "Seeing Red: Modern Mythologies of Mars in American Space Exploration" (MRP, 2011)
Supervisor: Prof Kathryn Denning

Christina Mills, "Too Much, Too Little, or Just Right?: How Sex Addiction Discourse Contributes to the Medicalization of Variations in Sexual Desire"(MRP, 2011)
Supervisor: Prof Alexandra Rutherford

Danielle Pacey, "Eugen Steinach's "Kampf der Gonaden" (1919): The Heterogeneity of Kampf Language in the Early Twentieth–Century Central European Life Sciences" (MRP, 2011)
Supervisor: Prof Michael Pettit

Jordan Bimm, "Reliable Bodies, Aeromedical Dreams: A History of American Space Medicine: 1948-1964" (MRP, 2010)
Supervisor: Prof Edward Jones–Imhotep

Aidin Keikhaee, "Hygiene: the Crossroads of Politics, Science, and Religion. A History of Modern Hygiene in Iran" (MRP, 2010)
Supervisor: Prof Kenton Kroker

Amy Teitel, "By Land or By Sea: Splashdown and Land Landings at NASA in the 1960's" (MRP, 2010)
Supervisor: Prof Richard Jarrell


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