Gestures and Diagrams in Visual-Spatial Communication: Methodological Tools and Applications in Mathematics and Logic

Investigator:
PD Dr. Jens Lemanski, WWU Münster / University of Hagen
Dr. Andrea Reichenberger, University of Siegen

Project description:
In recent years, the question of what role gestures and diagrams play for the teaching and learning of mathematics has increasingly become the focus of research under the heading of “embodied mathematics”. A number of studies at the intersection of sociology, linguistics, psychology and gender studies have investigated the complex interplay of visual communication and gestures, bodily performance and situational interaction from a gender-sensitive perspective. The aim of our project is to analyse gestures and diagrams not in the situational context of the classroom, but in the philosophy and history of logic and mathematics. We are entering new territory with this project. For the technical language communication of mathematics and logic ethnographic, semiotic and semantic aspects of gestures and diagrams have not been examined so far, at least not from a gender perspective. We aim to provide answers to the tension that mathematical and logical knowledge, on the one hand, is considered true, objective, reliable and gender-neutral, and, on the other hand, was and is plural and diverse as a cultural practice shaped by human concerns.