Genres of Mathematical Texts: A Proposal for a Sincere Math for Humanities Course

  • Sophie MacDonald, Mathematics
    Coach House, Green College, UBC

    Monday, February 6, 8-9pm
    in the series
    Green College Resident Members' Series
  • Many people retain little of value from their mathematics education, remembering it as a series of decontextualized, abstract procedures. Sophie MacDonald believes that this results not mainly from bad pedagogy but rather from an accurate sense of the values of the discipline—people who pursue highly mathematical courses of study sincerely value and enjoy decontextualized, procedural abstraction.

    Nevertheless, she believes that it is possible, and important, for people who primarily value qualitative and concrete learning to engage sincerely with mathematical ideas. In this talk, Sophie will demonstrate what this might look like, by discussing a few genres of mathematical texts—research articles, forum posts, instructional videos and technical software documentation—and using literary and ethnographic questions as a way into the mathematical ideas.

    Sophie MacDonald is a writer, teacher and mathematician, currently in her final year as a PhD candidate in the Mathematics Department at UBC. She doesn't remember writing most of her dissertation, but the second page of the introduction is about how the histories of thermodynamics and telegraph technology became intertwined through the idea of entropy. She has spent the majority of her time and energy in grad school developing and facilitating pedagogy workshops at the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT) and in the Mathematics Department. She also works at the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication (CWSC) as a writing consultant.

  • Unless otherwise noted, all of our lectures are free to attend and do not require registration.

February 6th, 2023 from  8:00 PM to  9:00 PM
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