"Camp" of Mathematical Queeries

"Being queer saved my life. Often we see queerness as deprivation. But when I look at my life, I saw that queerness demanded an alternative innovation from me. I had to make alternative routes; it made me curious; it made me ask, 'Is this enough for me?'"
—Ocean Vuong

This summer, QMT, Radical Pedagogy Institute , and Teach About Women are partnering to launch a virtual mathematics summer program, Camp of Mathematical Queeries. The program has been designed for LGBTQ+ students entering grades 9-12, looking for mathematics enrichment and creativity in an LGBTQ+ affirming community.

Camp of Mathematical Queeries

While LGBTQ+ identity is often relegated to the margins and ignored in subjects like mathematics, Camp of Mathematical Queeries was created to resist this normative view. Our program was designed to illustrate that students' LGBTQ+ identities are powerful assets to be utilized in the nurturing of positive mathematical identity. Our program honors the sentiments of Ocean Vuong, who wrote,

...[W]hen I look at my life, I saw that queerness demanded an alternative innovation from me. I had to make alternative routes; it made me curious; it made me ask, 'Is this enough for me?'

Our program taps into LGBTQ+'s folx natural propensity to explore alternative routes and ask questions that others may not. We believe this is exactly the liberatory approach needed to radically transform how we view what counts as mathematics and what it means to be mathematical.

In our innagurual summer program, students will be introduced to techniques of mathematical problem posing and structured inqu[ee]ry through explorations of the mathematics of drag and ball culture, pay inequity, "camp" fashion, problems of single issue politics, the location of LGBTQ+ centers, and more. Students will also have the opportunity to pose mathematical problems related to other topics they find interesting and worthwhile. Participants will work together to learn the mathematics needed to explore their posed problems and to reimagine what mathematics teaching and learning could be if we could only break free of the normative bonds of school mathematics.

The methods and ideas for Camp of Mathematical Queeries has been inspired by a number of sources including (but not limited to!):

  • Kai Rands' works in mathematical Inqu[ee]ry
  • Alexander S. Moore's work on the "Queer Identity Intersection of Mathematics Education"
  • Luis Leyva's work on mathematics as a white, masculine space
  • Kyne Santos' (from Canada's Drag Race!) Tiktok math videos.
  • Rochelle Gutierrez's work in creative insubordination and rehumanizing mathematics
  • Brown and Walter's work on mathematical problem posing
  • Lessons from the book High School Mathematics Lessons to Explore, Understand, and Respond to Social Injustice
  • The work of programs such as Indigenous STEAM, Girls STEM InstituteGirls who Code, and Love & LiteraTea

Click here for more information about Camp of Mathematical Queeries and to sign up for our inagural summer cohort.

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