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Ethnomathematics: A Multicultural View of Mathematical Ideas Paperback – May 1, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-0412989414 ISBN-10: 0412989417 Edition: 1st

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Ethnomathematics: A Multicultural View of Mathematical Ideas + Ethnomathematics: Challenging Eurocentrism in Mathematics Education (Suny Series, Reform in Mathematics Education) + Is God a Mathematician?
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Chapman and Hall/CRC; 1 edition (May 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0412989417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0412989414
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #444,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A splendid book, well worth reading, using in courses and loaning to friends who think they don't like mathematics.
-Mathematics Magazine

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
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.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book has two goals: one is defining the field of ``ethnomathematics'', the second is legitimizing the field by giving examples of what it might cover. This is more anthropology than mathematics, but would still appeal to a fan of Martin Gardner.
Memorable topics: the Inuit view of space, a sort of ethnotopology; navigation among the Polynesian islanders (how *do* they steer those tiny boats across five hundred miles of open ocean and arrive at an island a half-mile across? --- this chapter is simply amazing!); deciphering the code of the quipu (the knotted strings that formed the accounting records of the Incan Empire).
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By Enrique on March 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best book on ethnomathematics I've read. It covers the whole range of main topics on the historic, cultural and epistemic issues about mathematic. Highly recommended!!!!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. A. Parrish on November 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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