Re-imagining mathematics and mathematics education for equity and social justice in the changing South African university
Debates about transformation for a more equitable and socially just South African university and society more broadly have highlighted the need to consider how university curricula (re)produce enduring historical and societal inequities, and to bring student voices into conversations about reimagining these curricula. Strikingly, what has remained silent in these crucial debates is the role that the practices of mathematics and mathematics education and the language use in these practices may play (re)produce or transform existing inequities. This conceptual article seeks to insert these practices into these crucial debates by proposing tools that help us, firstly, to understand and to challenge the silence about the practices in the historical and socio-political context of the South African university. Secondly these tools can be used to reimagine mathematics and mathematics education for equity and social justice in the changing South African university. The key conceptual tools - a socio-political perspective and equity as access, achievement, identity and power are drawn mainly from the work of critical mathematics educators Rochelle Gutiérrez, Ole Skovsmose, Paola Valero and Renuka Vithal and the critical linguist Norman Fairclough. To illustrate the potential of these conceptual tools I use the voices and actions of university students as represented in my research conducted at an elite, historically white university in South Africa.
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