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The New Math

The New Math: A Political History


The 1960s saw the rise of hippies, the birth of feminism, and the release of the first video ?and it was also an era of calculus, which was introduced to US high school math curriculum for the first time. Part of the New Math initiative, which started in the late 1950s motivated by Sputnik and Cold War fears of intellectual inadequacy, calculus was one of many revolutionary components of this initiative. In an age of increasingly sophisticated technological systems and machines, math became a central focus of raising intelligent citizens. The American Subject is a political history of the new math, which looks at mid-century American history through the changing mathematics curriculum and as a means of examining a crucial period of political and social ferment as well as an episode in age-old debates over the place of mathematics in liberal education. Phillips focus is on grounding the perception of success and failure in changing evaluations of the nature of mathematical knowledge, and of the relevance of particular habits of thought for the cultivation of virtuous citizens. Neither the curriculum designers nor the diverse legions of supporters ever focused on whether the new math would improve calculation ability. They talked instead about needing to prepare citizens for modern society, for a world of complex challenges, seemingly rapid technological changes, and unforeseeable futures. The new math was promoted as a method to train children to think in the right way, and it captures in this history a complicated set of shifting political and societal commitments concerning the value of mechanistic intellectual habits, the relative importance of elite forms of knowledge against local and traditional ones, and the role of mathematics as mental discipline. That is, commitments concerning the way learning mathematics counted as learning to think.



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    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • ISBN-13: 9780226184968
  • ISBN: 022618496X
  • Publication Year: 2014
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
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