Appropriating Role Models for the Mathematical Profession: Biographies in the American Mathematical Monthly Around 1900

Conference paper
Part of the Trends in the History of Science book series (TRENDSHISTORYSCIENCE)

Abstract

During the first decade of its existence, the American Mathematical Monthly regularly published short biographies of mathematicians. When read as appropriations of past lives, these biographies can be analysed to provide new insights into the images of mathematics, and of American mathematics in particular, held by groups of authors and welcomed by the readership of the Monthly. Thus, the approach in this paper is a “meta-biographical” one in which biographies are analysed not for their content about past mathematicians but for their appropriation and framing in the context where they were produced. This approach brings forward new insights into the professionalization of mathematics in the United States, the promotion of different disciplines, and the efforts of individuals to cast themselves as following in the footsteps of some of the greatest heroes of mathematics.

Keywords

Appropriation Biography Professionalization US mathematics around 1900 Halsted American Mathematical Monthly 

Biographies from the American Mathematical Monthly, 1894–1904

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Science EducationUniversity of CopenhagenKøbenhavn KDenmark

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