logo Equipe Chspam
Logo Laboratoire Logo équipe Chspam
Logo Université Paris-Diderot Logo Université Paris1-Panthéon-Sorbonne


Sur ce site

Sur le Web du CNRS

Accueil > Archives > Ancients projets de recherche > Anthropologie des mathématiques > Version anglaise > Our project

Our project

Awaited results

All of these mathematical activities can be though of as immaterial scientific culture, that is important to study and preserve, because they are disappearing. We would like to analyze them in a framework that belongs partly to anthropology and for an other to history, reflecting on how these activities belong to scholarly mathematics. This project thus belongs to two of the main themes of this ACI, the promotion of scientific culture and the history of knowledge. Studying mathematical (...)


This is a translation of the “official” project, that we wrote last year, and which enabled us to get the money.
I think that Eric and me have some what advanced from here, since.
How is it recognized that an activity is "mathematical" when it is not identified as such by those who practise it ? What criteria should we use ? We also want to understand how does a mathematical activity becomes a "knowledge".
When does mathematics become a field of specialised knowledge ? (...)

Main research proposal

i. State-of-the-art and objectives
Ethnomathematics investigates mathematical activities and practices that are not produced in the conventional institutions where it is taught and practiced(1) . Its focus is as much on the mathematics of the slums of Rio, as on the practices of aboriginal tribes in Australia(2). The vitality of this quite new field can be measured by the number of papers that were presented in February 2006 at the latest International Conference on Ethnomathematics(3) . (...)

String figures in New Guinea and Arctic

Eric Vandendriessche has worked in the DEA of Paris VII University, under the supervision of Karine Chemla on « string figures ». A string figure is generally made by taking a piece of flexible string, about eight feet long, knotting it at the end so as to make it into a closed loop, and then by weaving or twisting it with the fingers (or sometimes with the feet or the mouth) in a same defined way. After a sequence involving several operations a design is shown to others. This type of (...)

Mathematical cultures of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu , in the south of the Indian subcontinent has many mathematical cultures. One can find scholarly texts written in Sanskrit (that can have been written in the South but also in North India), in Tamil and in other vernacular languages, written in the past. The tamil tradition, for instance was especially prolific in the XVIIth and XVIIIth century whith the Kanakkatikaram, the Kanita Nul, the Astana Kolakalm, the Kanita Venpa and the Kanita Tivakaram.
But other mathematical texts (...)

String games in PNG

Research Methodology
I would like to meet people practicing string figures in the Trobriand Islands. The first stage would be to compile and up-date our knowledge of the figures that are practiced. Gunter and Barbara Senft were mostly interested in the existing link between string game and local culture. Therefore, they decided to record the songs (called vinas-vinas) which often go with the realisation of these figures. Unfortunately, they did not try to note the steps which lead to the (...)