for the learning of mathematics

an international journal of mathematics education

Susan Gerofsky - Vol. 31 Num. 1 (2011)
 Ancestral genres of mathematical graphs


Drawing from sources in gesture studies, cognitive science, the anthropology of religion and art/architecture history, this article explores cultural, bodily and cosmological resonances carried (unintentionally) by mathematical graphs on Cartesian coordinates. Concepts of asymmetric bodily spaces, grids, orthogonality, mapping and sacred spaces are discussed. The article argues that learners relate graphs to their own bodies through gesture, and this relationship extends to cultural associations with actual, imagined and built spaces. It is suggested that a more culturally-engaged mathematics pedagogy would benefit learners by acknowledging ancestral resonances already present in mathematical graphs and allowing for deeper learner participation in mathematics.