I will describe an approach to classical complex Chern-Simons theory via "abelianization", relating flat SL(N)-connections over a manifold of dimension d <= 3 to flat GL(1)-connections over a branched N-fold cover.
This is joint work with Dan Freed. When applied in dimension d=2 this construction leads to an alternative description of a hyperholomorphic line bundle over the moduli space of Higgs bundles, studied e.g. by Haydys, Hitchin, Alexandrov-Persson-Pioline.
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