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 many Indians 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). The focus on the canon has significantly biased our understanding of the history of mathematics in India and detached it from its particular historical and contextual meanings. Theoretical frameworks that consider mathematics as practice rather than as a set of abstract ideas may fix this bias.


Workshop on Measuring: Practices, Publics, and Politics in doing History of Mathematical Practices, January 23-‚Äč24, 2020

Workshop on "Social History of Mathematical practices in South India", 11th July 2019 - 12th July 2019

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Social History of Vernacular Mathematical Practices in India