Ethnomathematics has a few parents, but most observers trace its formal birth to a speech given by the Brazilian mathematician Ubiratan D’Ambrosio in the mid-1980′s. Now an emeritus professor of math at the State University of Campinas outside S-o Paulo, he explained his thinking a couple of years ago to The Chronicle of Higher Education: ”Mathematics is absolutely integrated with Western civilization, which conquered and dominated the entire world. The only possibility of building up a planetary civilization depends on restoring the dignity of the losers.” Robert N. Proctor, who teaches the history of science at Pennsylvania State University, says he wants to counter the notion ”that the West is the be all and end all” when it comes to mathematical studies. ”After all,” he adds, ”all math is ethnomath — not just African kinship numerics or Peruvian bead counting, but also the C.I.A.’s number-crunching cryptology and Reaganomics.”
I’m basically speechless.
These morons should put their well-being where their mouth is. Have a group of engineers use non-Western math, perhaps Peruvian bead counting, to figure out the parameters necessary for a bridge to safely span a river gorge. To show how strongly they believe in the validity of the ethnomath concept the researchers should cross the bridge, to actualize their teachings in the material world and break the hegemony of Euro-phallo-centric numeracy….