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1. Ethnomathematics : A Multicultural
2. Ethnomathematics: Challenging
3. Pacific Ethnomathematics: A Bibliographic
4. Ethnomathematics
5. Ethnomathematics and aboriginal
6. Introducing Paulus Gerdes'
7. Explorations in Ethnomathematics
8. Ethnomathematics,Challenging Eurocentrism
9. Ethnomathematics: Challenging
10. Ethnomathematics; a multcultural
11. Africa Counts: Number and Pattern
12. Science and an African Logic
13. African Fractals: Modern Computing
14. Mathematical Works Printed in
15. Women Art and Geometry in Southern
16. Drawings from Angola: Living Mathematics
17. Count on Your Fingers African
18. Mathematics Across Cultures: The
19. Mathematics Elsewhere: An Exploration
20. Awakening of Geometrical Thought

1. Ethnomathematics : A Multicultural View of Mathematical Ideas
by M. Ascher
Paperback: 214 Pages (1991-06-13)
list price: US$93.00 -- used & new: US$37.99
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Asin: 0412989417
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In this truly one-of-a-kind book, Ascher introduces the mathematical ideas of people in traditional, or "small-scale", cultures often omitted from discussion of mathematics.Topics such as "Numbers: Words and Symbols", "Tracing Graphs in the Sand", "The Logic of Kin Relations", "Chance and Strategy in Games and Puzzles", and "The Organization and Modeling of Space" are traced in various cultures including the Inuit, Navajo, and Iroquois of North America; the Inca of South America; the Malekula, Warlpiri, Maori, and Caroline Islanders of Oceania, and the Tshokwe, Bushoong, and Kpelle of Africa.As Ascher explores mathematical ideas involving numbers, logic, spatial configuration, and the organization of these into systems and structures, readers gain both a broader understandingand anappreciation for the idease of other peoples. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Love it!
Very interesting book.Draws the reader in and keeps it interesting.It worked well for my research paper, but would also be good for light reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars An exploration of mathematics in traditional peoples
In the current atmosphere of political correctness and emphasis on multicultural attributes, it was inevitable that the mathematical air would be affected. However, any examination of obscure cultures presents an opportunity to lose perspective. It is very easy to examine a cultural attribute, explain it via abstract mathematics, and then call that an example of mathematical sophistication. For as all mathematics teachers know, the ability to do a particular application in no way means that the person knows the theory or can apply it in another context. The author makes an occasional and fairly deep penetration into this pitfall, but on the whole maintains a balanced outlook.
Ethnomathematics is given the definition, "study of the mathematical ideas of traditional peoples," and is a loose marriage of mathematics and anthropology. The primary cultures investigated are the Inuit, Navajo, and Iroquois of North America; the Incas, the Malejula, Warlpiri, Maori, and Caroline Islanders of the Pacific; and the Tshokwe, Bushoong, and Kpelle of Africa. Since the vast majority of potential readers have never heard of most of these cultures, reading the book has value as a simple exercise in horizon expanding. In all cases the level of mathematics is not deep, but some exposure to the particular concept is essential.
Chapter one describes how the Incas stored information by tying knots in cords (called quipu), and is more discourse than mathematics. The second chapter explains the Bushoong, Tshokwe, and Malekula traditions of drawing figures in sand, and uses graph theory to explain how it is possible to draw some of the figures without lifting the stick. The third one deals with the Warlpiri logic of kin relations, with group theory being the mathematical foundation. This is where the author falls the most, as can be seen from the following quote: "To me it is striking to find that a logical structure studied abstractly and extensively by Western mathematicians plays a central and significant role in the day-to-day life of some peoples." Given the ubiquity of modern mathematics, it would be more surprising if no explanation existed.
The fourth chapter deals with the games and puzzles of several of the cultures. Number five describes the perception of geometric shapes by several Native American tribes and how the Caroline Islanders use the heavens to navigate. Here again, it is more a listing of the thoughts than mathematical justification. Chapter Six gives many examples of symmetric patterns of decoration, all of which can be assigned group theoretic analogues.
If you are interested in the mathematical thought of these cultures, then this book is essential. However, given the current academic climate, this is no doubt the first in a string of books of this type. Which, when you think about it, is a good thing for us all.

Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission.

3-0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at fascinating, and foreign, ideas
This book has two goals: one is defining the field of``ethnomathematics'', the second is legitimizing the field by givingexamples of what it might cover.This is more anthropology thanmathematics, but would still appeal to a fan of Martin Gardner.

Memorabletopics: the Inuit view of space, a sort of ethnotopology; navigation amongthe Polynesian islanders (how *do* they steer those tiny boats across fivehundred miles of open ocean and arrive at an island a half-mile across? ---this chapter is simply amazing!); deciphering the code of the quipu (theknotted strings that formed the accounting records of the Incan Empire). ... Read more

2. Ethnomathematics: Challenging Eurocentrism in Mathematics Education (Suny Series, Reform in Mathematics Education)
Paperback: 440 Pages (1997-05)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$26.05
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Asin: 0791433528
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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This collection brings together classic, previously-published articles and new research to present the emerging field of ethnomathematics from a critical perspective, challenging particular ways in which Eurocentrism permeates mathematics education. The contributors identify several of the field's broad themes - reconsidering what counts as mathematical knowledge, considering interactions between culture and mathematical knowledge, and uncovering hidden and distorted histories of mathematical knowledge. The book offers a diversity of ethnomathematics perspectives that develop both theoretical and practical issues from various disciplines including mathematics, mathematics education, history, anthropology, cognitive psychology, feminist studies, and African studies written by authors from Brazil, England, Australia, Mozambique, Palestine, Belgium, and the United States. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars a comunist book
This book is of comunist orientation and it does contradict all statistical figure and the contribution of the european and european-americans to the civilization . This is the civilization as we know it now in it's scientific and lifestyle and technical way

5-0 out of 5 stars A Purposeful Activity
While it is the 'business' of mathematics to come to 'true' statements, just as it is the business of science to find and record facts, the methods by which we arrive at those facts and truth statements are largely founded upon developments of Western Thinking.

The aim of Ethnomathematics is to allow for a dialogue of the various ways by which cultures quantify, and qualify knowledge, and as such it offers a major field of study not only towards intercultural relations, but into the application and practice of mathematics as a whole.

For any other jokers out there who would like to argue the primacy or our Western approach to mathematics I point to the following: Ramanujan, the the Mangetu use of Fractals (a practice predating our Western 'discovery'), the Mayan calendar system (not only a way of looking at time but deemed more accurate by many researchers), and how various practices are employed within their respective societies.

Finally I would like to point out that ethnomathematics is still a contested field of research, but not because a triangle has three sides, nor because mathematics is 'objective.'

That said...

While I do not own this book and have not read it in its entirety, I found what I had read of it to be insightful, and well researched.

I am writing 5 stars for this book as a purposeful activity to counter what I feel were attacks made out of ignorance and a knee jerk reaction to anything remotely PC.

1-0 out of 5 stars Zero Stars Wasn't an Option
Mathematics is inherently objective and therefore immune from cultural influence.Hence, "ethno"mathematics is a contradiction in terms.

Vincent Williamson, Davison, Michigan

5-0 out of 5 stars Agreement with Eduardo.
I must agree with Eduardo's analysis. It is obvious that the two anonymous reviewers have not read the book, nor have any interest in trying to understand the viewpoints presented in the book. If they had, they would have presented some sort of reasoned argument. Disregard the anonymous reviewers. Read the book. Make your own decision. Or base your choice of buying (or reading) the book based on Eduardo's analysis. I am giving the book 5 stars as a counterpoint to the uninformed 1-star ratings given by the other two "reviewers".

1-0 out of 5 stars One of the dumbest ideas ever
The books represents that a mathematical observation is to some extent dependent on the culture of the observer.This is, at best, a misrepresentation.An equilateral triangle does not change in properties, no matter what the culture of the observer. Two + Two will always equal four. One of the most useful aspects of mathematics is that it is not relative to the culture of the observer. What is mathematically true remains true. If two observers do not agree about a mathematical property, one is wrong or incomplete.It may be that it is the European view that is wrong, I am sure that not all mathematical truth is known yet.It may never be.What is true about mathematical observation is not variable with culture. ... Read more

3. Pacific Ethnomathematics: A Bibliographic Study
by Nicholas J. Goetzfridt
Hardcover: 319 Pages (2007-11)
list price: US$77.00 -- used & new: US$50.51
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Asin: 0824831705
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This ground-breaking bibliography by distinguished Pacific researcher Nicholas Goetzfridt examines mathematical concepts and practices in Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. It covers number systems, counting, measuring, classifying, spatial relationships, symmetry, geometry, and other aspects of ethnomathematics in relation to a wide range of activities such as trade, education, navigation, construction, rituals and festivals, divination, weaving, tattooing, and music. In compiling nearly five hundred citations, Goetzfridt makes use of the vast resources of writing about the Pacific from the 1700s to the present. In addition to discussing Pacific knowledge systems in general, his introductory chapter includes a helpful overview of the relatively new field of ethnomathematics and important theoretical reflections on the discipline as a research program.

Extensive subject and geographic indexes provide numerous ways to experience the rich heritage and history of Pacific ethnomathematical concepts covered in this book, including: the 256 possible knotted fates enabled by the Carolinian sky god Supwunumen, etak segmentation concepts in stellar based voyaging, the highly diverse counting systems of Papua New Guinea, the alignment of stone structures with stars to mark the appearance of the equinox and solstice, and contemporary educational issues in the standardized teaching of Western mathematics.

Pacific Ethnomathematics is a major reference work that will be welcomed by Pacific scholars engaged in a wide range of disciplines, among them history, anthropology, education, geography, astronomy, archaeology, ethnic studies, and art. ... Read more

4. Ethnomathematics
by U D'Ambrosio
Paperback: 104 Pages (2006-06-19)
list price: US$24.50 -- used & new: US$20.23
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Asin: 9077874763
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In this book, Ubiratan D'Ambrosio presents his most recent thoughts on ethnomathematics - a sub-field of mathematics history and mathematics education for which he is widely recognized to be one of the founding fathers.In a clear, concise format, he outlines the aim of the Program Ethnomathematics, which is to understand mathematical knowing/doing throughout history, within the context of different groups, communities, peoples and nations, focusing on the cycle of mathematical knowledge:its generation, its intellectual and social organization, and its diffusion.While not rejecting the importance of modern academic mathematics, it is viewed as but one among many existing ethnomathematics.Offering concrete examples and ideas for mathematics teachers and researchers, D'Ambrosio makes an eloquent appeal for an entirely new approach to conceptualizing mathematics knowledge and education that embraces diversity and addresses the urgent need to provide youth with the necessary tools to become ethical, creative, critical individuals prepared to participate in the emerging planetary society. ... Read more

5. Ethnomathematics and aboriginal student anxiety.: An article from: Academic Exchange Quarterly
by Catherine McGregor, Peter MacMillan, Barbara Old
 Digital: 11 Pages (2005-09-22)
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Asin: B000CQN72A
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This digital document is an article from Academic Exchange Quarterly, published by Thomson Gale on September 22, 2005. The length of the article is 3036 words. The page length shown above is based on a typical 300-word page. The article is delivered in HTML format and is available in your Amazon.com Digital Locker immediately after purchase. You can view it with any web browser.

Citation Details
Title: Ethnomathematics and aboriginal student anxiety.
Author: Catherine McGregor
Publication: Academic Exchange Quarterly (Magazine/Journal)
Date: September 22, 2005
Publisher: Thomson Gale
Volume: 9Issue: 3Page: 126(5)

Distributed by Thomson Gale ... Read more

6. Introducing Paulus Gerdes' Ethnomathematics Books
by Paulus Gerdes
Paperback: Pages (2009-01-01)
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Asin: B002AD9ZNS
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""Introducing Paulus Gerdes' Ethnomathematics Books: A Collection of Prefaces, Forewords, Afterwords, and Afterthoughts"" contains texts by Ubiratan DAmbrosio, Bruno DAmore, Maurice Bazin, Jaime Carvalho, Marcos Cherinda, Joan Conolly, Donald Crowe, Peter Damerow, Hippolyte Fofack, Mohamed Hassan, Márcio Imenes, Abdulcarimo Ismael, Mateus Katupha, Aderemi Kuku, Sarifa Magide, Dubner Medina, Alcido Nguenha, Gaston NGuérékata, Emília Nhalivilo, Giovanni Nicosia, Jan Persens, Arthur Powell, Harald Scheid, Erhard Scholz, Gert Schubring, Greet Van Keymeulen, and the late Dirk Struik.
The colour edition (160 pp.) contains also a reproduction of the covers of the ethnomathematics books. ... Read more

7. Explorations in Ethnomathematics and Ethnoscience in Mozambique
by Various
 Paperback: Pages (1994)
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Asin: B002RGXY6W
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8. Ethnomathematics,Challenging Eurocentrism in Mathematics Education , 1997 publication
by various
 Paperback: Pages (1997-01-01)

Asin: B0036HLSFU
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9. Ethnomathematics: Challenging Eurocentrism in Mathematics Education --1997 publication.
by Powell
 Paperback: Pages (1997-01-01)

Asin: B003F8CWQE
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10. Ethnomathematics; a multcultural view of mathematical ideas.
by Marcia Ascher
 Hardcover: Pages (1991)

Asin: B001QGPJ5I
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11. Africa Counts: Number and Pattern in African Cultures
by Claudia Zaslavsky
Paperback: 368 Pages (1999-04-01)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$11.72
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Asin: 1556523505
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This fascinating study of mathematical thinking among Saharan African peoples covers counting in words and in gestures; measuring time, distance, weight, and other quantities; number systems; patterns in music, poetry, art, and architecture; number magic and taboos, and much more.African games such as mankala and elaborate versions of tic-tac-toe show how complex this thinking can be. An invaluable resource for those interested in African cultures and multiculturalism, this third edition includes an introduction covering two decades of new research in the ethnomathematics of Africa. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Etnomathematics
This book is very interesting and presents some aspects very important to understand the development of Mathematics in Africa continents.

2-0 out of 5 stars poor service in delivery
I am happy that the book has finally arrived after almost three months of its order in mid-December 2006. Otherwise no lament.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Truly Profound Book!
I have this book in my library and it's the most requested by my friends to borrow. We find that the history of math started in Africa by indigenous Africans.

Claudia Zaslavsky, an educator who advanced the study of the links between mathematics and world cultures, died on Friday, January 13, 2006. Being a woman of European descent didn't stop her from teaching the truth and not allowing personal gain to cloud her judgement. We should honor this woman and the work that she did for the study of indigenous African history.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is one of the best books in African Studies.
Zaslavsky's "Africa Counts" will continue to be widely cherished for many years to come. Anyone haboring the old notion that Africans played no part in shaping world civlilization who is not changed by what appearsin this book can only be someone with extraordinary racist tendencies.Zaslavky's book is effulgent because it demystifies mathematics withoutsacrificing details. ... Read more

12. Science and an African Logic
by Helen Verran
Paperback: 285 Pages (2001-12-15)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$19.00
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Asin: 0226853918
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Does 2 + 2 = 4? Ask almost anyone and they will unequivocally answer yes. A basic equation such as this seems the very definition of certainty, but is it?

In this captivating book, Helen Verran addresses precisely that question by looking at how science, mathematics, and logic come to life in Yoruba primary schools. Drawing on her experience as a teacher in Nigeria, Verran describes how she went from the radical conclusion that logic and math are culturally relative, to determining what Westerners find so disconcerting about Yoruba logic, to a new understanding of all generalizing logic. She reveals that in contrast to the one-to-many model found in Western number systems, Yoruba thinking operates by figuring things as wholes and their parts. Quantity is not absolute but always relational. Certainty is derived not from abstract logic, but from cultural practices and associations.

A powerful story of how one woman's investigation in this everday situation led to extraordinary conclusions about the nature of numbers, generalization, and certainty, this book will be a signal contribution to philosophy, anthropology of science, and education.
... Read more

13. African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design
by Ron Eglash
Paperback: 272 Pages (1999-03-01)
list price: US$32.95 -- used & new: US$25.37
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Asin: 0813526140
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Fractals are characterized by the repetition of similar patterns at ever-diminishing scales. Fractal geometry has emerged as one of the most exciting frontiers on the border between mathematics and information technology and can be seen in many of the swirling patterns produced by computer graphics.It has become a new tool for modeling in biology, geology, and other natural sciences.

Anthropologists have observed that the patterns produced in differentcultures can be characterized by specific design themes.In Europeand America, we often see cities laid out in a grid pattern ofstraight streets and right-angle corners.In contrast, traditionalAfrican settlements tend to use fractal structure--circles of circlesof circular dwellings, rectangular walls enclosing ever-smallerrectangles, and streets in which broad avenues branch down to tinyfootpaths with striking geometric repetition.These indigenousfractals are not limited to architecture; their recursive patternsecho throughout many disparate African designs and knowledge systems.

Drawing on interviews with African designers, artists, and scientists,Ron Eglash investigates fractals in African architecture, traditionalhairstyling, textiles, sculpture, painting, carving, metalwork,religion, games, practical craft, quantitative technologies, andsymbolic systems.He also examines the political and socialimplications of the existence of African fractal geometry.His bookmakes a unique contribution to the study of mathematics, Africanculture, anthropology, and computer simulations. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Former Student
I had Ron Eglash as a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Discussing and analyzing aspects of this book, including self-organization in general, was very interesting and valuable to say the least. The book makes no assumptions in knowledge and will cleanly bring in the topic of fractals in african culture. I had read the book the winter break before taking the course and had no difficulty understanding the material even as a freshman. The concept is quite intriguing and shatters many of the held perceptions of "the hierarchy of mathematics." Ron Eglash is a great man and I know he loves talking with people that share similar interests in mathematics or cybernetics.

3-0 out of 5 stars At times the author crosses the line where mathematics is "found" inside situations when it is not there
This book can be placed in the category of ethnomathematics, where the emphasis is on the ethno rather than the mathematics. Fractals are by definition structures that are self-similar over a large number of iterations and scales of measure. If you accept that only a few iterations are sufficient to define a fractal, then the structures described in this book can be considered fractals. However, the author does the best job of summing up the content in the first two sentences of chapter 11.

"Parts I and II of this book emphasized the geometric, symbolic, and quantitative aspects of African fractals. Some cases were more speculative than others - a difference that I hope was clearly indicated - but even in the use of mythic narrative, I generally restrained conclusions to those that had geometric or quantitative counterparts."

I agree that the author generally stayed within the bounds of reasonableness in describing what are called fractal structures in African design, but only if you stay within the bounds of a few iterations of shrinking self-similarity being sufficient to have a structure be considered a fractal.
In the last four chapters, the author makes some points that are both revealing and questionable. On page 182, after pointing out that anthropologists need years of study to understand a culture the author states, "My thin description fieldwork lasted only a year and moved through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Cameroon, Benin and Ghana." By his own admission, Eglash is not qualified to speak to deep cultural issues, yet he proceeds to do so. The section that begins on page 209 with the title "Recursion and sex - a cross-cultural comparison" simply went way beyond or more precisely out of my understanding of fractals, recursion and sex. I did not understand either the statement "This section will focus on the relation between recursion in mathematics and sexuality in culture" or the purported explanation.
While I am a strong supporter of the concept of ethnomathematics, people writing in support of it must take great care not to avoid finding mathematical ideas or intent inside situations where none exist. In my opinion, Eglash crosses that line in this book.

Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission,

5-0 out of 5 stars a good introduction to African mathematics and fractal geometry
This book starts out with a presentation of fractal geometry which is very comprehensible and enjoyable. Next it covers specific aspects of fractal geometry and their relation to African society, architecture, fashion, art, divination and games. This part of the book is very fascinating. I learned a lot about how recursion works and how it is used in African buildings and fashions in the chapter on recursion. Other chapters in this section are Geometric algorithms, Scaling, Numeric systems, Infinity and Complexity. They are all very interesting. The final section is on the implications of the fact that Africans used this kind of mathematics. The author emphasizes the application of African fractal geometry to education especially the education of African Americans who sometimes feel alienated from math classes which focus on the achievements of European peoples. One thing that the author stresses is that the fractal designs of, say city planning, made by African peoples are not more "natural" than the Western approach of dividing cities into rectangles. He says this assumption dovetails into a preconception of African societies as being somehow closer to nature and therefore unsophisticated. The author points out that fractal mathematics is hardly simple and also not easily intuited either. I did not find myself making this assumption but apparently some people do fall into this trap. Anyway, I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting an introduction, with applications, to fractal geometry and its use in African societies. I also recommend this book to educators looking for a way to get their students, regardless of their background, to be more interested in mathematics.

5-0 out of 5 stars Connecting Africans ancient and modern
This is an amazing book! It clearly shows how many of the common things that people of African descent do have may scientific connections.Hair styles that are worn today by people of African descent, have been worn as far back to the ancient indigenous Africans known as the ancient Egyptians.So it really no surprise that there is mathematical and scientific knowledge being found today by scientist and scholars.

This book should be in every school and home in this country.I take that back, this book should be in every school globally.

Another scientific book that would make a great set for any school or home is, The African Unconscious.Written by Edward Bruce Bynum.You can find it here on Amazon.com.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book helps to render obsolete long-held myths.
Ron Eglash's brilliant work on Afrikan fractals helps to shatter long-held myths and misconceptions about Afrikans, the most pervasive and pernicious of which is the notion of Afrikans (both on the Motherland and in the Diaspora) as inactive agents in history. This work motivated me to complete mine on chaos theory and Afrikan fractals. My longer reviews of Eglash's book appear in the Nexus Network Journal (vol. 2, 2000:165-168) and the Journal of Third World Studies (vol. xviii, no. 1, 2001:237-239), each reflecting the publication's genre and disciplinary focus. Dr. Abdul Karim Bangura is a researcher-in-residence at the Center for Global Peace and a professor of International Relations in the School of International Service at American University, and the director of The African Institution in Washington, DC. He is the author of 21 books and more than 200 scholarly articles. ... Read more

14. Mathematical Works Printed in the Americas, 1554--1700 (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Mathematics)
by Bruce Stanley Burdick
Hardcover: 392 Pages (2009-01-22)
list price: US$57.00 -- used & new: US$30.21
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Asin: 0801888239
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This magisterial annotated bibliography of the earliest mathematical works to be printed in the New World challenges long-held assumptions about the earliest examples of American mathematical endeavor. Bruce Stanley Burdick brings together mathematical writings from Mexico, Lima, and the English colonies of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York. The book provides important information such as author, printer, place of publication, and location of original copies of each of the works discussed.

Burdick's exhaustive research has unearthed numerous examples of books not previously cataloged as mathematical. While it was thought that no mathematical writings in English were printed in the Americas before 1703, Burdick gives scholars one of their first chances to discover Jacob Taylor's 1697 Tenebrae, a treatise on solving triangles and other figures using basic trigonometry. He also goes beyond the English language to discuss works in Spanish and Latin, such as Alonso de la Vera Cruz's 1554 logic text, the Recognitio Summularum; a book on astrology by Enrico Martínez; books on the nature of comets by Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora and Eusebio Francisco Kino; and a 1676 almanac by Feliciana Ruiz, the first woman to produce a mathematical work in the Americas.

Those fascinated by mathematics, its history, and its culture will note with interest that many of these works, including all of the earliest ones, are from Mexico, not from what is now the United States. As such, the book will challenge us to rethink the history of mathematics on the American continents.

... Read more

15. Women Art and Geometry in Southern Africa
by Paulus Gerdes
Paperback: 244 Pages (1998-02)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$20.00
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Asin: 0865436029
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Africa needs to awaken and nurture its magnificent creative potential. African Women, constituting half of the population, are still strongly underrepresented in scientific and technological careers where mathematics plays an important role. Women themselves appear to lack the confidence to take up studies in the science fields that have been considered male domains in Europe and throughout colonial Africa. Ironically, however, outside this context, South African women have traditionally been involved in cultural activities ¡V such as ceramics, beading, mural decoration, mat and basket weaving, hair braiding, tattooing, string figures ¡V which bear a striking artistic and mathematical character.

The main objective of this book is to call attention to some mathematical ideas incorporated in the patterns invented by women in Southern Africa. An appreciation of these mathematical traditions may lead to their preservation, revival and development. Use of female art traditional forms has implications in the field of mathematics education. ... Read more

16. Drawings from Angola: Living Mathematics
by Paulus Gerdes
Paperback: 72 Pages (2007-05-18)
list price: US$8.94 -- used & new: US$5.00
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Asin: 1430323132
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For children from age 8 to 14. "Drawings from Angola" present an introduction to an African story telling tradition.The tales are illustrated with marvelous drawings made in the sand. The book conveys the stories of the stork and the leopard, the hunter and the dog, the rooster and the fox, and others.It explains how to execute the drawings.The reader is invited to draw tortoises, antelopes, lions, and other animals.The activities proposed throughout the book invite the reader to experiment and to explore the 'rhythm' and symmetry of the illustrations.Surprising results will be playfully obtained, such as in arithmetic, a way to calculate quickly the sum of a sequence of odd numbers.Children will live the beautiful mathematics of the Angolan sanddrawings. Answers to the activities are provided. The book can be used both in classrooms and at home. ... Read more

17. Count on Your Fingers African Style
by Claudia Zaslavsky
Hardcover: 32 Pages (2000-04)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$22.94
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Asin: 0863162509
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In the African marketplace, people buy and trade using many different languages including various methods of finger counting. This beautifully illustrated picture book takes readers on a tour of the markets, showing the traditional finger counting styles of various African peoples. Many children develop math phobia early. This book explores the practicality of math within the context of African culture and helps children see that math can be fun and creative. ... Read more

18. Mathematics Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Mathematics (Science Across Cultures: the History of Non-Western Science)
Hardcover: 500 Pages (2000-10-31)
list price: US$329.00 -- used & new: US$219.95
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Asin: 0792364813
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Mathematics Across Cultures: A History of Non-WesternMathematics consists of essays dealing with the mathematicalknowledge and beliefs of cultures outside the United States andEurope. In addition to articles surveying Islamic, Chinese, NativeAmerican, Aboriginal Australian, Inca, Egyptian, and Africanastronomy, among others, the book includes essays on Rationality,Logic and Mathematics, and the transfer of knowledge from East toWest. The essays address the connections between science and cultureand relate the mathematical practices to the cultures which producedthem. Each essay is well illustrated and contains an extensivebibliography. Because the geographic range is global, the book fills agap in both the history of science and in cultural studies. It shouldfind a place on the bookshelves of advanced undergraduate students,graduate students, and scholars, as well as in libraries serving thosegroups. ... Read more

19. Mathematics Elsewhere: An Exploration of Ideas Across Cultures
by Marcia Ascher
Hardcover: 224 Pages (2002-08-05)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$49.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691070202
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Mathematics Elsewhere is a fascinating and important contribution to a global view of mathematics. Presenting mathematical ideas of peoples from a variety of small-scale and traditional cultures, it humanizes our view of mathematics and expands our conception of what is mathematical.

Through engaging examples of how particular societies structure time, reach decisions about the future, make models and maps, systematize relationships, and create intriguing figures, Marcia Ascher demonstrates that traditional cultures have mathematical ideas that are far more substantial and sophisticated than is generally acknowledged. Malagasy divination rituals, for example, rely on complex algebraic algorithms. And some cultures use calendars far more abstract and elegant than our own. Ascher also shows that certain concepts assumed to be universal--that time is a single progression, for instance, or that equality is a static relationship--are not. The Basque notion of equivalence, for example, is a dynamic and temporal one not adequately captured by the familiar equal sign. Other ideas taken to be the exclusive province of professionally trained Western mathematicians are, in fact, shared by people in many societies.

The ideas discussed come from geographically varied cultures, including the Borana and Malagasy of Africa, the Tongans and Marshall Islanders of Oceania, the Tamil of South India, the Basques of Western Europe, and the Balinese and Kodi of Indonesia.

This book belongs on the shelves of mathematicians, math students, and math educators, and in the hands of anyone interested in traditional societies or how people think. Illustrating how mathematical ideas play a vital role in diverse human endeavors from navigation to social interaction to religion, it offers--through the vehicle of mathematics--unique cultural encounters to any reader. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars So-so
This book didn't contain the information on Native American Mathematics that I was looking for, but I thought I could use it anyway.The index is very limited.The book is dry and uninteresting.Try her other book, Ethnomathematics, instead.It is much better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mathematics is everywhere if you know how to look, Ascher does
Mathematics is found in many places and in many forms, you only have to look for it in the right way. Ascher does that in this book. In chapter 1, "The Logic of Divination" randomization processes used in Madagascar, the Caroline Islands of the Pacific and the west coast of Africa are described. The processes are described using Boolean algebra and modular arithmetic.
Accurate calendars are an important component of most cultures and the computations used to maintain calendars in many cultures are described in chapters 2 and 3. The cyclic nature of the passage of the days is described using modular arithmetic. Some of the cultures whose calendars are explained are the Jewish; a tribe living on the island of Sumba in Indonesia called the Kodi, the Mayans of Central America and the Trobriand Islanders of the coast of New Guinea.
Chapter four deals with the tactics used by the Polynesian people as they navigated thousands of miles across the sea from one Pacific island to another. Their use of stick charts describing the paths based on wave patterns is an interesting form of graph. Relationships are the topic of chapter five, in particular the cyclic, sequential and circular structure used by the Basque people. Each person has a nearest neighbor on the "left" and on the "right" and they interact most strongly with those people when it comes to giving and receiving aid during critical times such as the harvest. Other relationship structures covered are the complex relationships in the Tonga island chain and among the Borana people of Ethiopia.
The sixth and final chapter describes figures that Tamil people in India draw on their doorsteps using white powders. The designs are so complex that they are fractal in nature and computer scientists have used them as models to develop descriptive picture languages.
Ascher describes many uses of mathematics, from the Pacific Islands of Polynesia to the tribal cultures of Africa and many places in between. This is a fascinating book and one that teachers of comparative cultures should examine. The mathematics is not difficult; it is well within the level of understanding of anyone with knowledge of basic algebra. I found it so interesting that I am now considering talking to the sociology department about the possibility of team teaching an honors level course on the use of mathematics in so-called "primitive" cultures.

5-0 out of 5 stars refreshing!
there are very few books on ethnomathematics
out there (another good one is Mathematics
Across Cultures, Selin (ed.))

This book has the plus of smooth and enjoyable
reading, WITHOUT wattering down in content

Advisable for teachers, historians, and, in
addition, persons interested in the epistemological
problems in science.

Plese keep on writing, Marcia!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
This is an excellent book.It sounds like an odd premise for a book - look at ideas in 'other' cultures and see how these are in essence mathematical ideas (in the western sense).However, what the author has done has turn what could be 'worthy but dull' material into a fascinating read.If you teach math (school, college or university) you will find lots of great topics to illustrate your lectures.If you just like math then this is a good read.The author has a nice style too - very easy to read.I loved this book.If you have any interest in math ideas then you will too. ... Read more

20. Awakening of Geometrical Thought in Early Culture
by Paulus Gerdes
 Hardcover: 184 Pages (2003-01)
list price: US$49.50
Isbn: 093065675X
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