Disordering mathematical identity stories through dramatic filmed parody ‘Math Therapy’

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Abstract

The stereotypical mathematical identity story of the ‘mad mathematician’ (consumed by mathematics and socially inept) is widely reported as problematic to understanding what it means to be mathematical, and to engaging students in mathematics. This problem is explored in the improvisational parody ‘Math Therapy’’, which occurred during the making of ‘Performatics’. https://vimeo.com/147449932 ; an Arts Based Research (ABR) using filmed-drama. ‘Math Therapy’ is a fictional, generic therapy context. Performed and informed by the lived experiences of three post graduate students studying courses with mathematical content, their mathematical experiences are juxtaposed with those of a socially imagined ‘mad mathematician’. The ABR facilitates a performance of embodied ways one imagines and performs mathematical identity. In this performance, ‘Math Therapy’ subverted, made ridiculous, and disordered the stereotypical ‘mad mathematician’ identity, so as to critically question and challenge its authority. In doing so mathematical identities available to us are also revealed as possessing a parodic duality of an imagined and lived identity.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Mathematics Educator
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017