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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Rehearsing a maroon mythopoetics in mathematics education through consideration of an artefact of mathematics popularization (the pedagogical film All is Number) Khan, Steven Kamaluddin


In this transdisciplinary study I rehearse ideas of communication, discourse, identity, representation, ethics, and responsibility as they relate to mathematics education through critical engagement with the medium of a specific pedagogic film – All is Number – which was produced in the Caribbean and intended for Secondary School and non-specialist audiences. I argue that popularizations of science and mathematics, even as they work to interrupt particular limiting narratives, simultaneously participate in ideological, political moral and aesthetic economies and ecologies in which the discursive enactments of colonial power/knowledge are necessarily implicated and show that mathematics popularization has proselytizing and pedagogic functions. I consider the film All is Number to be situated with/in the heteroglossia of broader cultural phenomena, viz. the ‘popularization’ of educational consumption, and most specifically, the popularization of mathematics. Specifically, I illustrate how the film constructs an idea of mathematical authority and mathematics that is simultaneously sensitive to concerns in the mathematics education literature about the representation of mathematical practitioners and mathematics yet insensitive to practices of Othering. I argue that the film is an ethnomathematical artefact representing aspects of a particular culture of mathematics and that the mythopoetic tradition in Curriculum Studies might serve as a useful alloy for ethnomathematical studies. In addition, I contribute towards a language for Caribbean Curriculum Theorizing by arguing that the film and dissertation as anomalous places of learning can be construed as a maroon narrative. I introduce and rehearse the implications of my concept of intervulnerability where rehearsal is taken as being an ethically and epistemologically vigilant mode of dialogical inquiry, a demythologizing critique and recursive elaboration.

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