senthil.babu AT ifpindia DOT org
  + 91- 413-2231633
  + 91- 413-2231605


Senthil Babu D., is a historian of mathematics based at the French Institute of Pondicherry, in south India, where he is involved in studies concerning Nature, Knowledge and Labour []. He is coordinating a research programme in the Social History of Vernacular Mathematical Practices in Medieval South India in collaboration with Chair, History and Philosophy of Mathematics at ETH, Zurich. His book, Mathematics and Society: Numbers and Measures in early modern South India, will be published soon by Oxford Universtiy Press in 2022. He is a member of the editorial board of the series, Verum Factum: Studies in Political Epistemology []. He is a member of the Politically Mathematics Collective in India [


The study of Indian mathematics has traditionally focused on a list of canonized Sanskrit treatises. This focus on elite scholarly sources highlighted abstract conceptions, using contemporary or other major historical mathematical cultures as reference points. This research has largely ignored vernacular mathematics, often assuming it was derivative, inferior or insignificant. But mathematics was part of the everyday lives of most people through labor, craft, commerce and taxation. In South India (in particular Tamil Nadu and Kerala), we have substantial vernacular mathematical literature (in Tamil and Malayalam).


Click here for list of publications.

Other Publications

SENTHIL BABU D., 2015. Self Respect Movement, In: Gita Dharampal-Frick et. al. eds., Key Concepts in Modern Indian Studies, Oxford University Press, Delhi, pp. 254-255.

SENTHIL BABU D., 2014. Mathematics Education in Precolonial and Colonial South India, In: The First Sourcebook on Asian Research in Mathematics Education:China, Korea, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, and India, Edited by Bharath Sriraman, Jinfa Cai, Kyeong-Hwa Lee, Fan Lianghuo, Yoshinori Shimuzu, Lim Chap Sam, and K. Subramaniam, Information Age Publishing, Charlotte, pp.1727–1748.

SENTHIL BABU D., 2013. Mathematics and Its Images of the Public, In:  Nagarjuna G., Jamakhandi, A. and Sam, E. eds, epiSTEME 5 International Conference to Review Research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education, Conference Proceedings. India: Cinnamonteal, pp. 25-30.

SENTHIL BABU D., 2012. Indigenous Traditions and the Colonial Encounter: A Historical Perspective on Mathematics Education in India In:  R. Ramanujam & K. Subramaniam (Eds.), Mathematics Education in India: Status and Outlook (pp. 37-62). Mumbai: Homi Bhaba Centre for Science Education (TIFR).

SENTHIL BABU D., 2012. Learning Mathematics in Nineteenth Century South India, In:  Cho, Sung Je ed, The Proceedings of the 12th International Congress on Mathematical Education Intellectual and Attitudinal challenges, Seoul.

SENTHIL BABU D., 2011. Coastal Accumulation in Tamil Nadu, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol - XLVI No. 48, November 26, 2011.

SENTHIL BABU D., 2010. Science and Self Respect: Periyar on Modern Science, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol - XLV No. 14, April 03, 2010.

SENTHIL BABU D., 2007. Dialects in Practice, In:  Kannan. M ed., Streams of Language: Dialects in Tamil, Institut Francais de Pondichéry Publications Hors Serie 6, Pondicherry, pp.249-258.

SENTHIL BABU D., 2007. “Memory and Mathematics in the Tamil tinnai Schools of South India in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”, International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education, Volume 2, Number 1.

SENTHIL BABU D., 2006. Science in Tamil Society: Issues for consideration, In:  Kannan. M & Carlos Mena eds. Negotiations with the Past: Classical Tamil in Contemporary Tamil, University of California, Berkeley and French Institute of Pondicherry.

SENTHIL BABU D., 2004. Popularizing Science for Social Change: M. Singaravelar, Economic and Political Weekly, January 17, 2004, pp. 234-237.

SENTHIL BABU D., 2000. Science Writing in Tamil 1890-1940: A Historical Bibliometric Approach, PILC Journal of Dravidic Studies, Volume 10, Number 2, July 2000, pp. 109-124.