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The Mathematics Enthusiast

Authors

Abbe H. Herzig

Volume

7

Issue

2-3

Abstract

The participation of women in post-graduate mathematics still lags substantially behind that of men. Drawing upon sociocultural theories of learning, I argue that success in graduate school necessitates learning mathematical content, participating in mathematical practices, and developing a sense of belonging in mathematics. Using an institutional ethnography approach, I interviewed 12 women graduate students from three mathematics departments in the U.S. to document their experiences within the social relations of graduate mathematics. They described both intrinsic and extrinsic obstacles to belonging, including a tension between their desire to belong and their needs to distance themselves from what they perceived to be the mathematical culture. These women’s stories are interpreted in terms of the ways they are multiply “marked” as deviant (Damarin, 2000)—as women, as mathematically talented, and as women in mathematics; for women of color or mothers, these markings are even more complex.

First Page

177

Last Page

208

Included in

Mathematics Commons

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