Date: 10/24/2001 at 04:58:17 From: Nadia O'Brien Subject: African Mathematics I am investigating the history of mathematics within the African context. Although I have found significant information on Egypt's contribution to mathematics, I cannot find anything on the contribution, development, etc. made fsrther south on the continent. I have found reference to the Joloff who used a base 5 system (library reference material). I find this lack of information quite perplexing, as the San, Bushmen, etc. were herders and would surely have developed some kind of system to keep count of and record the numbers of their herds. I need this information for a Numeracy Textbook I am writing for Grade 3 learners. I have searched the Net and have spent hours at the library. Please help.
Date: 10/24/2001 at 10:22:39 From: Doctor Jodi Subject: Re: African Mathematics Hi Nadia, I'm glad to hear that you are going to include information about history of maths, and about African math, in your textbook. I taught a course in history of math this summer. I encountered several books that touched on this subject. Claudia Zaslavsky's is by far the most comprehensive. Her book is called _Africa Counts_, and was published by Prindle, Weber, and Schmidt, New York in 1973. Zaslavsky has also written many journal articles about multicultural approaches to math and about the history of African math. Another book you may find helpful is by George Gheverghese Joseph: _The Crest of the Peacock: Non-European Roots of Mathematics_, 2nd. ed. London: Penguin Books, 2000. (Review at http://www.nexusjournal.com/reviews_v3n3-Bangura.html , publisher site, including link to table of contents at http://pup.princeton.edu/titles/6935.html .) In Web searching, I found one bibliography entitled _African Origins of Science and Math_ [Sadiki] - perhaps that would help. You can find it at http://www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/Bibliography/African_Origins_Math.html Another bibliography that might be interesting, entitled African Math Bibliography, can be found at http://saxakali.com/COLOR_ASP/african.htm You can also find the Web site of the African Mathematical Union's Commission on the History of Mathematics in Africa. The site includes downloadable newsletters and membership information. http://www.math.buffalo.edu/mad/AMU/amuchma_online.html Perhaps their members would be another resource for your research. Best luck, and let us know how it goes! - Doctor Jodi, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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