Etnomatemaitcas

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Volume 2, Issue 1
November 2007
In this issue
Perspectives 2
Events 4
Publications 5
Research 6
President’s Report 7
ICEM-4 8
Web 8
News 9
Callings 10
Minutes 11
Welcome
A Word from the Editors
Welcome to the inaugural issue of NASGEm News
– featuring all the latest from the North American Study
Group on Ethnomathematics (and a few others).
NASGEm News is focused onproviding up-to-date
information about what is going on in ethnomathematics:
ethnomathematics in the news; online and print resources
for teaching; calls for chapters / papers; as well as new
and upcoming publications and conferences. Each issue
will also feature updates from NASGEm Executive
Board members and short articles focusing on key issues
in ethnomathematics. We are very honoured to havesubmissions from Ubiratan D’Ambrosio and Paulus
Gerdes for our first volume. More traditionally academic
work continues to flow to Tod Shockey and Rick
Silverman, co-editors of the Journal of Mathematics and
Culture.
Our goal is to publish NASGEm News online every 6
months. If submissions allow, we will move up to a
quarterly schedule. We thank the contributors whose
submissions made thisfirst issue possible, and encourage
everyone to continue their submissions via Dawn
Wiseman (dawn@nativeaccess.com). We look forward to
receiving and sharing all your news.
Dawn Wiseman
Claudette Engblom-Bradley
Dawn Wiseman
Claudette Engblom-Bradley
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Ethnomathematics: Perspectives
Ubiratan D’Ambrosio
A warm welcome for the NASGEm News. Members of the international groups
thatsprang out of the ISGEm will greatly benefit from this new vehicle of
communication, information and exchange of ideas.
I first started to look at mathematics of different cultural environments, back
in the mid-seventies, when preparing the essay for ICME 3, on “Why teach
Mathematics?” My main focus was the relations between Mathematics and
Society. My view of Mathematics was as the science thatemerged from the
Mediterranean basin and organized in antiquity, mainly by the Greeks, and
of Society as communities, cultures and civilizations organized according to
the model of urban, economic and social relations that emerged in post-feudal Europe, since the Late
Middle Ages and Renaissance. Both, Mathematics and Society shared this historical background and
became prevalent all over theWorld. In the Age of Enlightenment the philosophical foundations of both
Mathematics and Society were well established. This foundation was supposed to guide my paper for
ICME 3.
But, after much travel in Brazil, in the Americas and Africa, I was, for some time, curious about
traditional ways of dealing with numbers and forms, as well as with the presence of traditions in
societalarrangements and in religious practices. These recognitions were responsible for the impressive
development of anthropology in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly of ethnography. Recognition of
the possibility of different mathematics in different cultures and the relations of these different approaches
to space and time within models of society and education were timidly suggested in the classicsof
anthropology.
Then I came across the precious and pioneering book of Claudia Zaslavsky, Africa Counts. I became
very interested in finding something similar in other regions of the World. Many years of working as
a consultant with UNESCO and the Organization of American States favored my ideas. Thus I was
courageous enough to deal with the theme of “Why Teach Mathematics?” taking intoaccount these
very broad factors. The paper was received with mixed feelings. How could someone question the
Mathematics that was in curricula all over the World? The answer to “Why Teach Mathematics?”
should stress how important was to teach that mathematics. It was correct to discuss new approaches of
teaching and learning that mathematics. Cultural roots and social tensions had not much to do...
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