CFP: MEDIEVALISM IN EAST ASIA – I: FROM PRINTED STORY-WORLDS TO DIGITAL ROLE-PLAYING GAMES

IX Workshop Mutual Images: Medievalism in East Asia-I From Printed Storyworls to Digital Role-Playing Games; image of east Asia digital housing (video game style)

MEDIEVALISM IN EAST ASIA – I:
FROM PRINTED STORY-WORLDS TO DIGITAL ROLE-PLAYING GAMES
University of Salford, Manchester (UK)
2 – 3 December 2021

CALL FOR PAPERS
Images of the European Middle Ages, refashioned through the lens of fantasy or not, are massively present in our contemporary imagination and can be seen everywhere around the World. Such an ubiquity has pushed Academia to finally give the field of Medievalism Studies the recognition it deserves, ensuring that the phenomenon of medievalism, from its early beginnings to its neo forms, manifestations and impacts, can be scrutinised with much attention. Surprisingly though, one cultural area remains either under-appreciated or marginal at best in research on medievalism, despite becoming one of the most remarkable providers of neo-medieval creations: that is, East Asia, and in particular, Japan.

In facts, altered representations of the European Middle Ages have long been present in Japan – on the front cover of the first issue of children’s magazine Akai Tori (1918), in the manga Nazo no kurōbā (1934) by Matsumoto Katsuji, or via the surprising fact that the Japanese translation of The Hobbit (1937) by J.R.R. Tolkien was one of the earliest (1965). Nowadays, neo-medieval images and narratives enjoy colossal success in Japan, and can be found across a great variety of genres, media and fields – manga, anime, games, light novels, movies, even radio drama and architecture; it has come to a point where their presence can hardly be missed in daily life, and where leading a “neo-medievalist life” through adventuring and socialising every day in neo-medieval MMORPGs has become normal.

And through the successful reception of Japanese popular culture overseas, neo-medieval images “made in Japan” have been seeping into foreign contemporary imaginations, from Europe to the USA and East Asia, to such an extent that they have heavily altered the flow of circulation of Medievalism as a whole: today, Japan has become one of its main driving forces. This process is gaining even more momentum if we consider the massive success of the neo-medieval MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, which in 2020 reached the most impressive number of 20 million users world-wide. With the rise of such a global community, Japan’s neo-medievalism confirms its change of status: it is not just a cultural entity capable of crossing borders anymore; it now transcends them, creating a new sense of belonging and shared images way beyond local differences.

Meanwhile in East Asia, China and South Korea have been narrowing the gap with Japan, establishing themselves as strong receptors and providers of medievalism. One has only to look so far as their numerous trendy neo-medieval manhua, manhwa, and (web)novels (i.e. Overgeared by Park Saenai, or Only I level up by Chugong), or the success of both local and foreign games pertaining to medievalism there, from League of Legends and World of Warcraft, to the recent Genshin Impact.

But, how, and when did altered Japanese representations of the European Middle Ages emerge, and come to be ubiquitous? What are the European medieval texts and images that have been, or are being transferred in East Asia? How deep is the influence of modern fantasy authors (e.g. J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, Robert E. Howard)? What of the role-playing game Dungeon & Dragons? How do Japanese Middle Ages images and folklore co-exist with the European Middle Ages in neo-medieval story-worlds? What are the characteristics, the internal movements of Japanese Medievalism? How do other East Asian Medievalisms differ? What part has Japan’s mangaesque and digital culture played in the rise and success of its neomedievalism, locally and globally?

Never before in the history of Medievalism, has a culture outside of the European and US-American spheres been able to challenge in such a way the essentialist presumption that the European Middle Ages is “theirs”. In what ways Japanese Medievalism, and East Asian Medievalisms in general, are shaping contemporary Europeans’ reception of the European Middle Ages, their relationship to its heritage, and to the notion of “Middle Ages” itself?

Medievalism is commonly understood as “the reception, interpretation or recreation of the European Middle Ages in post-medieval cultures” (Louise D’Arcens 2016). If so, how, then, should we theoretically address works that play with the “Japanese Middle Ages”? Should they be kept under notions such as jidai shōsetsu (“Period fictions”) and rekishi shōsetsu (“Historical fictions”)? What about Chinese works categorised as Xianxia, which often involves local medieval elements? Should the notion of “Medievalism” encompass any “medieval” period – if such wording can be applied to another cultural area to begin with –, or should it be used only when it involves the European Middle Ages?

SUBMISSIONS
December 2021 will mark the 20th anniversary of the cinema’s release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, directed by the New Zealander film director, writer and producer, Peter Jackson; an adaptation that rekindled the flame of Medievalism all over the world. What better occasion, then, to look at Tolkien’s influence in East Asia, as well as extend our observations to the general state of Medievalism in, and from East Asia, and particularly in, and from Japan? Moreover, with the dramatic passing of Miura Kentarō – author of the manga Berserk, one of the most iconic and influential neo-medieval manga – in May, such a research endeavour appears even more necessary than before.

As such, we, at Mutual Images Research Association, have decided this year to start a sub-series of our annual International Workshop, dedicated to Medievalism in East Asia. This first edition, done in co-operation with, and hosted by the Digital Curation Lab at the University of Salford (Manchester), aims to explore the reception, interpretations and refashionings of the European Middle Ages across all genres and media in East Asia, from early to most contemporary creations, from printed story-worlds to digital role-playing games. Participants are asked to consider the cultural, ideological, or theoretical implications of such recreations of the European Middle Ages.

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers. We encourage submissions characterized by interdisciplinary approaches and based on frameworks coming from all disciplines of humanities and social sciences. This workshop is open to PhD students and academics at any stage of their career. Papers for this workshop can fall into, but are not limited to, the precedent questions and the following categories:

• Historical evolution of Medievalism in East Asia (e.g. Japan, South Korea, China)
• The reception and legacy of Tolkien in East Asia
• The influence of Dungeons & Dragons in East Asia
• Adaptation of European medieval texts, folklore, mythology and/or medieval history
• (Neo)medievalism in serial narratives (anime, manga/manhwa/manhua, novels)
• The isekai phenomenon in Japanese neomedievalism
• East Asian game industries and neomedievalism
• The impact of digital technology on medievalism in East Asia
• The reception of Japanese, South Korean or Chinese (neo)medievalism in Europe
• Musical (neo)medievalism in East Asia
• Eco-medievalism in East Asia
• Theoretical approaches of Medievalism when applied to an East Asian context

DEADLINE AND WRITING RECOMMENDATIONS
Abstracts (≈300 words), a short bio, and 5-10 keywords should be submitted by 6 September, 2021.

Abstracts are to be submitted to the following address: mutualimages@gmail.com
Your email subject line must read: MUTUAL IMAGES 2021 Abstract Submission. We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us within a week, please resubmit.

All papers presented may be subsequently submitted to the peer-reviewed research journal Mutual Images – https://mutualimages-journal.org.

Due to Covid-19, we are expecting to hold this workshop at best as a hybrid event with in-person as well as online participation, with the option of having it fully online. More details will be announced, later on, on this particular point. We will use the institutional virtual platform (Blackboard Collaborate). Access details will be provided in due time.

Under agreement with contributors, conferences video recordings will be available for free as part of a newly established MIRA (Mutual Images Research Association) Archive.

Join Organising Chairs:
Dr. Maxime Danesin (Mutual Images Research Association, France)
Dr. Manuel Hernandez-Perez (University of Salford, Manchester, UK)
Dr. Juan Hiriart Vera (University of Salford, Manchester, UK)

For more information, visit
https://www.mutualimages.org
http://hub.salford.ac.uk/digital-curation-lab/events/

 

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CFP: Global Medievalisms (Book)

Medievalism is a multivalent phenomenon that speaks differently in and across the disparate communities that practice it; as with other fields of study, extending our perspective to view medievalism in a global context transforms the object of study itself. This edited collection will consider global medievalisms, exploring how various modern interpretations, re-enactments, and reifications of the medieval serve as reactions to the neoliberal globalization of the present. Whether or not it is accurate to speak of a “global middle ages,” since the rhetoric of the medieval is a fundamentally Western construct, global medievalism positions itself in a world before gunpowder, the dominance of urban centers, and the organization of social ties around economic relations. It thus accords both with disturbing nativist appropriations of the Middle Ages and with attempts to recover personal relations whose meaning is not defined in monetary terms. Medievalisms’ global reach testifies to the extent that the contemporary world follows a widespread paradigm for social relations and cultural production (on the junction-point of which medievalism is situated), while the profound differences in what constitutes medievalism in different localities reveals fresh aspects of the post-colonial response to Western hegemony.

We seek submission of essay proposals in two main categories:

  • Work that explores particular medievalisms in a global framework; e.g., the construction of the global in Game of Thrones, global tropes in medievalist reenactments, white supremacist appropriations of medieval pasts, world-building in role-playing games (table-top or digital), etc.
  • Work that explores conversations between global and local medievalisms, particularly outside of Western Europe and the United States; e.g., Disney and fantasy medievalisms (including King Arthur manga, samurai narratives, paladins, gauchos, cowboys, etc.), post-colonial responses to medievalist legacies, medievalist reclamations of non-European pasts, etc.

Among the issues the collection may interrogate are:

  • Is there a global medieval? Even if not, is there still a global medievalism?
  • What might constitute the tropes of global medievalism? Armor and swords (pre-gunpowder, but not “ancient”)? Fealty and anti-capitalism?
  • How can medievalism act as a response to a post-colonial situations?
  • How have medievalisms been harnessed for political ends?
  • How do reified medievalisms travel across borders and cultures?
  • How do medievalist reconstructions connect with heritage issues?
  • What is the global map of medievalisms?
  • How have medievalisms been used to reaffirm localism and resist globalization?
  • How have medievalisms been harnessed to the purposes of global media?
  • Is our current notion of a global medieval world a form of global medievalism? How can this apply both to Medieval Studies as a discipline and to political decentering?

Please send your proposal, including a title and 250-word abstract, by May 25th, 2021 to Angela Weisl (angela.weisl@shu.edu) and Robert Squillace (robert.squillace@nyu.edu); include your title and affiliation in your cover email.

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Studies in Medievalism XXX: Politics and Medievalism (Studies) II

Available Now! Studies in Medievalism XXX: Politics and Medievalism (Studies) II edited by Karl Fugelso continues the theme of its predecessor, addressing how the Middle Ages have been invoked to score political points, particularly with reference to the rise of populism fuelled by recent recessions and a pandemic.

https://boybrew.co/3gsGWt2

Studies in Medievalism book
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Call for papers: 36th Annual Conference on Medievalism,“ Medievalism Today”

November 4-6, 2021.
Online Conference.
Organized by the International Society for the Study of Medievalism.
Hosted by Delta College, Michigan.
Send proposals for papers, sessions, and roundtables to:
medievalism2021@gmail.com
Deadline: 30 June 2021

For more information, visit: https://medievalism.net/conference/ 

Call for Papers: Medievalism Today

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GLOBAL MEDIEVALISM: culture, appropriations and reinventions

Call for Papers

International Conference: Global Medievalism April 28-30, 2021

From Q-Shaman’s tattoos to Game of Thrones’ resounding success, the medieval is undoubtedly the order of the day. With this popularity, the need to understand the origins of these many representations of the Middle Ages, their mistakes, interests, inspirations and objectives, is also reinforced. The field of study of medievalism is currently the fastest growing within medieval studies around the world. In Brazil, it could not be different: over the past 5 years, we have seen more and more academic and dissemination works focused on the reception of the medieval and an increasing interest in the subject.

Organized by GEHM (Grupo de História Medieval-Unimontes) and by the Estate University of Montes Claros, Brazil, this conference was conceived in dialogue with professors and researchers from different countries and institutions, aiming to put the Brazilian public in direct contact with the international academic debates in medievalism studies.

The conference is accepting papers, and entire sessions, submitted in Portuguese, English or Spanish. The selected works will, later, be considered for a digital peer-reviewed publication. Submissions are open until April 11, 2021.
This is a 100% online conference to reduce foreign interaction costs and per the precautionary measures recommended by WHO concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, please see the website: https://en.globalmedievalism.com/.

Proposal:
– Each participant may submit up to 2 papers.
– Proposals for entire sessions can include a maximum of up to 6 people divided into two tables of 3.
– Papers in Portuguese, English and Spanish will be accepted. The themes of the proposals must include medievalisms, neo-medievalisms or medieval reception. Papers that work with representations and memories of the medieval period and the history of historiography about the period are also welcome.
– In addition to the abstract (maximum of 500 words), it is possible, but not mandatory, to send the full text upon registration. This can assist in the evaluation of the proposal.
– A revised version of the full text may be sent from April 30 to September 30, 2021, to compose the e-book of the event’s proceedings.
– For proposals for a complete session, the abstract must (in up to 600 words) describe the theme as a whole, as well as clearly identify what each proponent will talk about.

Evaluation:
– The evaluation, acceptance, or elimination of submission are the conference’s Scientific Council’s responsibility through a double-blind reviewing process.

General Observations:
– The certificate of presentation will be issued only to presenters who were not absent during the entire panel in which they participated.
– The result will be published on the website until April 25, 2021

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CFP: Global Medievalisms

Medievalism is a multivalent phenomenon that speaks differently in and across the disparate communities that practice it; as with other fields of study, extending our perspective to view medievalism in a global context transforms the object of study itself. This edited collection will consider global medievalisms, exploring how various modern interpretations, re-enactments, and reifications of the medieval serve as reactions to the neoliberal globalization of the present. Whether or not it is accurate to speak of a “global middle ages,” since the rhetoric of the medieval is a fundamentally Western construct, global medievalism positions itself in a world before gunpowder, the dominance of urban centers, and the organization of social ties around economic relations. It thus accords both with disturbing nativist appropriations of the Middle Ages and with attempts to recover personal relations whose meaning is not defined in monetary terms. Medievalisms’ global reach testifies to the extent that the contemporary world follows a widespread paradigm for social relations and cultural production (on the junction-point of which medievalism is situated), while the profound differences in what constitutes medievalism in different localities reveals fresh aspects of the post-colonial response to Western hegemony.

We seek submission of essay proposals in two main categories:

  • Work that explores particular medievalisms in a global framework; e.g., the construction of the global in Game of Thrones, global tropes in medievalist reenactments, white supremacist appropriations of medieval pasts, world-building in role-playing games (table-top or digital), etc.
  • Work that explores conversations between global and local medievalisms, particularly outside of Western Europe and the United States; e.g., Disney and fantasy medievalisms (including King Arthur manga, samurai narratives, paladins, gauchos, cowboys, etc.), post-colonial responses to medievalist legacies, medievalist reclamations of non-European pasts, etc.

Among the issues the collection may interrogate are:

  • Is there a global medieval? Even if not, is there still a global medievalism?
  • What might constitute the tropes of global medievalism? Armor and swords (pre-gunpowder, but not “ancient”)? Fealty and anti-capitalism?
  • How can medievalism act as a response to a post-colonial situations?
  • How have medievalisms been harnessed for political ends?
  • How do reified medievalisms travel across borders and cultures?
  • How do medievalist reconstructions connect with heritage issues?
  • What is the global map of medievalisms?
  • How have medievalisms been used to reaffirm localism and resist globalization?
  • How have medievalisms been harnessed to the purposes of global media?
  • Is our current notion of a global medieval world a form of global medievalism? How can this apply both to Medieval Studies as a discipline and to political decentering?

Please send your proposal, including a title and 250-word abstract, by May 1st, 2021 to Angela Weisl (angela.weisl@shu.edu) and Robert Squillace (robert.squillace@nyu.edu); include your title and affiliation in your cover email.

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CALL FOR PAPERS — STUDIES IN MEDIEVALISM XXXI:  POLITICAL MEDIEVALISM III 

1800s sketch of woman with wings on horse

From Hitler’s “Third Reich” to Bush’s “crusade” against terrorism, professional politicians have often invoked the Middle Ages to justify their actions. But they are far from alone, for many of their constituents have also deployed medievalism for political purposes, as in condemning impoverished countries for “failing to escape” the Middle Ages. Indeed, much of medievalism, not to mention the study of it, has revolved around politics of one kind or another, as became evident from the unprecedented number of submissions to our two previous volume (XXIX & XXX) on this theme. Studies in Medievalism, a peer-reviewed print and on-line publication, is therefore once again seeking not only feature articles of 6,000-12,000 words (including notes) on any postmedieval responses to the Middle Ages, but also essays of approximately 3,000 words (including notes) on the intersection of medievalism (studies) and politics. How exactly have professional and amateur politicians misconstrued, mangled, and manipulated the Middle Ages and to what end? How have politics influenced the development of medievalism and/or study of it? In what sense, if any, is it possible to have medievalism (studies) without politics? How might medievalism otherwise be deployed in professional or amateur politics? In responding to these and related questions, contributors are invited to give particular examples, but their submissions, which should be sent to Karl Fugelso (kfugelso@towson.edu) in English and Word by August 1, 2021 (note that priority will be given to papers in the order they are received), should also address the implications of those examples for the discipline as a whole.

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The Transitional Governance Committee

  • Interim Executives (3):
    • Valerie Johnson (University of Montevallo)
    • Angela Weisl (Seton Hall University)
    • Helen Young (Deakin University)
  • Interim Outreach (1): Carol Robinson (Kent State University at Trumbull)
  • Interim Conference & Panel Organization (1): Alexandra Sterling-
  • Hellenbrand (Appalachian State University)
  • Interim Graduate Student (1): Luiz Felipe Anchieta Guerra (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais)
  • Interim Precariat (1): Carl Sell (Lock Haven University)

Membership

7 members were proposed during the November 2020 Business Meeting. Odd numbers ensure democratic consensus and avoid ties. Members may recruit assistance from outside the Transitional Governance Committee for specific tasks as needed.

Task

To create a sustainable structure for the ISSM that will allow the society to move forward flexibly and maintain existing obligations (conference, journals / blog, web / social media presence) while allowing new voices and democratic engagement.

Goals

The mandate of the Transitional Governance Committee includes the following duties, as discussed during the 11.13.2020 Business Meeting, and as articulated in the 09.2019 Business meeting:

  • To maintain the daily functioning of the Society, via updating or maintaining listservs, social media, assorted web presences, and associated journals / blogs that are linked to the ISSM (eg., Studies in Medievalism, The Year’s Work in Medievalism, Medievally Speaking, associated social media accounts claiming connections to the ISSM) .
  • To research and then implement a formal governance structure that allow s for accountability, multiple voices, democracy, and genuine diversity and inclusivity across intersecting geographic, racial, gender, institutional status (graduate students, adjuncts, NTT, TT and tenured, etc.) categories.
  • To draft an organizational mandate or mission statement that articulates the vision of the ISSM as an open-access, diverse, and global collaborative.
  • To collect and organize existing documents / data regarding existing ISSM bylaws and history, journal archive contents.
  • Consolidate and regularize web presence, if determined to be necessary .
  • Once the formal governance structure has been selected, provide education to ISSM list/social media participants regarding the form, and then manage a formal nomination process, hold elections, and assist the new Executive Committee transition into their roles.
  • To assess the fiscal needs of the Society as it presently exists and determine if crowdfunding, donations during annual conferences, or membership fees are necessary or feasible (note: the appeal of the Society for many is that it is open access and free, though that fiscal burden may be upon individual members; this task would be assessing current needs and solutions, as well as considering future needs) .
  • If needed, to conduct listening sessions – format TBD – to collect perspectives from ISSM membership regarding the future of the Society, and thus ascertain the ISSM’s collective needs.
  • To accomplish the work and dissolve the Transitional Governance Committee after no more than 1 calendar year following election.

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CFP: The Year’s Work in Medievalism 35 (2020): Movement

The thematic focus for Issue 35 (2020) of The Year’s Work in Medievalism is movement. In 2020, movement and stagnation were paired frequently with medievalism, through discussions of plague, cultural systems, and political ideologies. We invite consideration of COVID-19 public health motion control / shelter in place orders, increasing reliance on medievalism imagery within alt-right political movements, the use of medievalism to support left-leaning political movements, popular culture medievalisms (especially those featuring nomadic or questing protagonists), and more. Contributions arising from the 2020 meeting of the International Society for the Study of Medievalism are also welcome.

The Year’s Work in Medievalism is a peer-reviewed open access journal providing codisciplinary and interdisciplinary communication for scholars interested in the reception of medieval culture in post-medieval times. We welcome submissions in English covering all aspects of medievalism, including traditional essay-style submissions that are 3,000-4,000 words (including notes) in length, as well as creative works.

Deadline for submissions: February 15, 2021.

Submissions and inquiries regarding submissions should be directed to both Renée Ward (rward@lincoln.ac.uk) and Valerie Johnson (vjohnso6@montevallo.edu). Please follow the journal style sheet when preparing your submission for consideration.

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CFP: 35th International Conference on Medievalism 

Impossible Pastimes: Playing With, In, and Through the Middle Ages 

35th International Conference on Medievalism 

Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA, November 12-14, 2020 

Play is one of the most significant sites of production in contemporary medievalism. As evidenced by the popularity and ubiquity of medieval-themed games, it is one of the primary ways through which the dominant, consensus view of the Middle Ages is reproduced as a political, historical, economic, and cultural reality in both mass culture and the popular imagination. Play, as such, functions to reify many of the most problematic aspects of traditional medievalism, including the persistent racial and gendered stereotypes that explicitly imagine the Middle Ages as a period of profound cultural crisis—a crucible of violence and want in which masculine white privilege was tested and emerged in its nascent, modern form to exercise sovereignty over the peoples and cultures that, despite their threat, were simultaneously shown to be inferior. 

       Yet by the same token, play inherently calls this vision of reality into question. As Johan Huizinga writes, play interpellates participants in a magic circle in which space and time are suspended—an imaginary situation that, according to Lev Vgotsky, is a manifestation of “desires and tendencies of what cannot be realized immediately.” Play, in this sense, is not an expression of what is but of what is denied. Facilitated through ritual and performance, it represents an attempt to make material and therefore real a fundamentally occult vision of what its participants want their worlds to be. Play, as such, inherently calls into question the veracity of its own productions. In the context of the medievalism of the contemporary moment, it foregrounds the fact that many of the problematic worldviews that are constructed as historical reality by contemporary medievalism are themselves fantasies.  

       What is more, play simultaneously recognizes that other fantasies are possible. In its ability to at once conjure and critique reality, it foregrounds the fact that there are always other ways of re-imagining ourselves and our circumstances via the Middle Ages or any number of other impossible sites of desire. Conceived as an experiment in playing with—which is to say, re-imagining the generative possibilities of the Middle Ages, the 2020 ISSM Conference seeks to interrogate the doubled potential of play as it is manifested not only in contemporary medieval-themed games, hobbies, and pastimes, but in any of the myriad ways that we play with the Middle Ages through art, scholarship, or other forms of critical inquiry and cultural production broadly defined. 

         Please send abstracts of c. 300 words for individual papers or entire sessions on medieval-themed games, hobbies, pastimes and all other kinds of medievalisms (which is to say, other forms of medievalesque play) by September 15, 2020 to Kevin Moberly (kmoberly@odu.edu). For the wide range of topics of interest to the study of medievalism, please visit the table of contents pages of Studies in Medievalism and The Year’s Work in Medievalism, and the reviews published in Medievally Speaking. More information about the 2020 ISSM conference can be found on our conference website. 

This year’s conference will be hosted by Old Dominion University, located in Norfolk, Virginia. Out of an abundance of caution due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, this year’s ISSM Conference will be held entirely online and virtually. Old Dominion University has a robust, well developed distance education infrastructure, which will allow us to hold sessions synchronously, asynchronously, or as a mixture of both formats. 

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