Many contributions of diverse cultures foster a rich understanding of mathematics. Knowing how one's culture has contributed to mathematics and how these contributions enhance our cultural environment supports the acquisition of mathematical power. However, discussing culture in mathematics classrooms for a one-week celebration of women in mathematics or a one-month recognition of the contributions of African Americans is not enough. Cultural learning that recognizes race, ethnicity, gender, and social class should be woven into the fabric of mathematics lessons throughout the year. Yet many teachers have limited backgrounds in promoting culturally relevant mathematics in meaningful ways.
Patricia S. Moyer
Think about new orleans. images of the wrought-iron balconies and doors of the French Quarter probably come to mind. Wrought iron was first brought to New Orleans from Spain in 1790. During the next twenty years, a number of free, mixed-race Haitians fled the Haitian slave revolts and entered the southern ports of Savannah, Charleston, and New Orleans. The Haitian refugees who came to Louisiana between 1791 and 1809 were better trained and better educated than were the inhabitants of the Louisiana territory, and “their influence insured that the state would have a Creole flair for years to come” (Hunt 1988, 58).
Edited by Howard Eves
The origins of counting and number are shadows of prehistory. Certainly they must have sprung from the needs of the earliest herdkeeping beings who, finding themselves with possessions, had to keep track of them. It is equally certain that number became far more than a tool of convenience and need—it penetrated inexorably into men's beliefs, mores, and very lives. Evidence of number's pervasive function may be found in every oral and written record left by the human race. Through the years a huge quantity of fact and fancy, science and symbolism, sense and supersition has grown up. It is the purpose of this paper to discuss and collate some of this lore of number.
T. F. Mulcrone S. J.
In almost every history of the Negro in the United States one can find an account of the incidental contributions of Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) to the social history of Ms race. But no chronicle is readily available of the scientific life of Banneker as a student of mathematics, almanac compiler, surveyor, and astronomer. The object of this article is to provide such an account of the scientific activity of Benjamin Banneker, whom W. Douglas Brown called “the first American Negro to challenge the world by the independent power of his intellect,” and to indicate how close Banneker comes to approximating the composite picture of the mathematician in the United States at the end of the eighteenth century.
Ebony O. McGee
I introduce the construct of fragile and robust identities for the purpose of exploring the experiences that influenced the mathematical and racial identities of highachieving Black college students in mathematics and engineering. These students maintained high levels of academic achievement in these fields while enduring marginalization, stereotyping, and other forms of racialization. Their fragile mathematical identities were manifested in the way they were motivated to achieve in order to prove false the negative expectations of others. Their robust mathematical identities were characterized by an evolving sense of self-efficacy and discovery, a growing affinity and passion for mathematics, and a desire to be a mathematically inspiring role model. Extending the work on identity development, I recommend more nuanced interpretations of the interplay of human development, racialized experiences, and distinctly race-related risk and protective factors that complicate mathematical identity formation for Black college students in mathematics and engineering fields.
Elizabeth L. Pier and Mitchell J. Nathan
In Mathematics and the Body: Material Entanglements in the Classroom, Elizabeth de Freitas and Nathalie Sinclair present an approach to embodiment that they term inclusive materialism. Their aim is to radically disrupt notions of “the body,” primarily by decentering the body in accordance with an ontology categorizing physical matter, mathematical concepts, diagrams, sounds, gestures, and technological entities as an assemblage of “entanglements” constituting mathematical activity. Their perspective is explicitly influenced by feminist, queer, and critical race philosophies, which they channel to redefine what is considered human, to redraw the boundaries of what has historically been described as material and embodied, and to “rescue the body, so to speak, from a theory of discourse that denies its materiality in order to grant the body some measure of agency and power in the making of subjectivity” (p. 40).
Luis A. Leyva
Gender research in mathematics education has experienced methodological and theoretical shifts over the past 45 years. Although achievement studies have used assessment tools to explore and subsequently challenge the assumption of male superiority on mathematics assessments, research on participation has unpacked these studies' sex-based achievement comparisons by exploring the masculinization of mathematics through qualitative methods. This article offers a review of gender research in mathematics education with analysis of its findings as well as conceptual and empirical contributions. Current understanding of mathematics as a gendered space, however, can be further broadened through intersectional analyses of gender and its interplay with other identities (e.g., race or ethnicity, class). Implications for future gender research, particularly the adoption of intersectionality theory, are raised to inform more nuanced analyses.
John Kinsella and A. Day Bradley
Professor Judd of the University of Chicago in the April 1929 “Mathematics Teacher” while urging teachers of mathematics to keep in mind the informational values as well as the computational uses of mathematics made the following interesting statement: “Number is a general system. It was invented by the race as a useful system by means of which anyone who is in command of the number series can arrange all kinds of miscellaneous experiences and thus greatly facilitate intelligent thought about particular items.” It seems to be a general theorem that races in their evolution toward a higher degree of civilization have almost inevitably developed a number system for the expression of order and precision.
H. E. Slaught
It may seem unwarranted to speak of romance in connection with a subject commonly supposed to be as dry and prosaic as mathematics. The dictionary defines a romance as a “fictitious and wonderful tale.” The tale which I am about to relate is indeed wonderful but it is not fictitious—it is true and it is the kind of truth that is stranger than fiction. It is the story of the birth and growth of the number concept in the human race—it is the story of the struggle of humanity to learn to count. We speak glibly of “thousands,” and “millions,” and “billions,” but we should not forget that these concepts are the cumulative heritage of many centuries. Even to-day there are backward tribes in some parts of the world who have no number words beyond “one,” “two,” or “three” and who designate all larger groups under the single word “many.”
Aditya P. Adiredja
This article identifies a self-sustaining system of deficit narratives about students of color as an entry point for studies of cognition to engage with the sociopolitical context of mathematical learning. Principles from sociopolitical perspectives and Critical Race Theory, and historical analyses of deficit thinking in education research, support the investigation into the system. Using existing research about students' understanding of a limit in calculus as context, this article proposes a definition of a deficit perspective on sense making and unpacks some of its tenets. The data illustration in this article focuses on the mathematical sense making of a Chicana undergraduate student. The analysis uses an anti-deficit perspective to construct a sensemaking counter-story by a woman of color. The counter-story challenges existing deficit master-narratives about the mathematical ability of women of color. The article closes with a proposal for an anti-deficit method for studying the sense making of students of color.