Numeracy: Historical, philosophical and educational perspectives
St Anne’s College, Oxford
Wednesday 16 to Friday 18 December 2009 (lunchtime to lunchtime).
Final call for papers: extended deadline
A few more papers can be accepted; an extended deadline of 31 August
will now apply for the receipt of proposals.
In recent years studies of the history of mathematics have turned
increasing attention to the mathematical experiences of ordinary
people and to the teaching, learning and using of mathematics which
takes place outside elite contexts and away from individuals who
might ordinarily identify themselves as mathematicians. At the same
time a focus exists in the educational world on the key skill of
numeracy, its nature and its acquisition. Philosophers of mathematics
have long been interested in the nature of our understanding of
numbers and numerical operations and the nature of basic arithmetical
This conference seeks to bring together these different approaches to
numeracy, in order to share insights about what numeracy is, how we
can recognise it (or its absence), how it relates to other cognitive
capacities and other fundamental questions concerning basic numerical
abilities. It will also provide a forum for the discussion of
detailed case studies from the different realms of history,
philosophy, and education, which will, it is hoped, prove mutually
stimulating and fruitful for new interactions between these fields.
Novel and/or interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcomed,
and we can accept pertinent studies based on any historical period or
Confirmed invited speakers:
Philosophy: Marcus Giaquinto (UniversityCollege, London); Stephen
Laurence (University of Sheffield)
History: Natasha Glaisyer (YorkUniversity); Jane Wess (Science
Museum, London); Kathryn James (Yale)
Education: Terezinha Nunes (University of Oxford); Tom Roper
(University of Leeds); Jane Imrie (National Centre for Excellence in
the Teaching of Mathematics)
Provisional topics include ‘Connecting street mathematics with school
learning’ (Nunes); ‘Functional mathematics: what does it
mean?’ (Roper); ‘Functioning mathematically in the 21st century: UK
perspectives’ (Imre); and ‘Numeracy and early modern scientific
instruments’ (Wess). More information and the conference programme
will be posted at www.benjaminwardhaugh.co.uk/numeracy in due course.
The cost will be £100, and will include two nights’ B&B accommodation
at St Anne’s College, and attendance at the conference dinner on the
17th (a reduced rate of £50 will apply to students and to those who
do not require overnight accommodation). The conference is grateful
to the British Society for the History of Mathematics and All Souls
College, Oxford, for financial support.
To propose a paper for consideration please send the title and
abstract (approximately 200 words), together with your name and
affiliation, in the body of an email to the address below. The
deadline for the receipt of proposals is 31 August; every effort will
be made to make decisions by 15 September. Speaking slots will be of
30 minutes, including time for questions.
Registration for non-speaking delegates is now open: to reserve a
place please email the address below. The deadline for registrations
is 1 December, but places will be allocated on a first-come basis,
and early registration is encouraged.
Dr Benjamin Wardhaugh
Oxford OX1 4AL