MATHEMATICS AND NARRATIVE: BRINGING MATHEMATICS BACK TO THE CULTURAL MAINSTREAM
Summer course at the Central European University in Budapest, July 20-24, 2009
For several centuries now mathematics has been a primary tool of modern
science and technology, twin pillars of the modern world. It is therefore
startling to note the marginal place of higher mathematics within current
mainstream thought and culture, and the widespread alienation from the
field by both intellectuals and the broader public. Unlike philosophy,
history, literary studies, and even the physical sciences, higher
mathematics has became practically irrelevant to mainstream cultural
The course confronts this fundamental anomaly by noting that the
marginalization of mathematics is of relatively recent origins, and is
rooted in a particular historical narrative. This story has shaped both
the practice of mathematics and its relationship to other fields of
knowledge, placing it in direct opposition to the human world. In the
course we will seek to question this seemingly self-evident opposition by
exposing the deep and complex interconnections between the mathematical
and narrative modes of thought. This will not only open up novel
perspectives on the history and philosophy of mathematics, but, it is
hoped, will help bridge the chasm that now separates mathematics from
Amir Alexander, History, UCLA; Apostolos Doxiadis, Writer, Athens; Karl
Hall, History, Central European University; Ted Porter, History, UCLA;
Arkady Plotnitsky, English, Purdue University; Joan L Richards, History,
Brown University; Janos Tanacs, Philosophy, Budapest University of
Technology and Economics.
Markus Asper, Classics, NYU; George Szpiro, Journalist, Zürich.
Target group is graduate students, faculty and researchers. No formal
pre-requisites, but an understanding of the central issues of the cultural
production of knowledge is highly desirable.
The language of instruction: English
Tuition fee: EUR 250. Financial aid is available.
Application deadline: February 16, 2009
Online application (from mid-November): http://www.sun.ceu.hu/apply
Attachments to be sent to: [email protected]