Diversify Your Blogfolio

No matter what we write with, we all approach math from a different angle. Image courtesy of lisamikulski via Flickr CC.

It’s March. As the sun sets on black history month and rises on women’s history month, I feel inclined, as I do every March, to draw attention to some of the great women who blog about math as well as several blogs that address diversity in mathematics.

The most recent exciting news on that front is the launch of inclusion/exclusion, a new blog in the AMS family. The blog is edited by Edray Goins, Piper Harron, Brian Katz, Luis Leyva, and Adriana Salerno (former editor of another great AMS blog PhD + epsilon). The mission of the blog is brought into clear focus in their first post, Inclusion/Exclusion Principle. The editors aim to change the common notion of what it is to be “professorial,” to include a diverse array of views through conversations about the profession, and to provide us with strategies for addressing the diversity in the classroom and in the field.

One of my favorite posts so far came from Piper Harron, who formerly (and perhaps still?) blogged as The Liberated Mathematician. In her post, Hands Off My Confidence, Harron attacks the common “women-lack-confidence narrative,” by describing her own relationship with confidence through the arc of her life. She makes important points about the difference between lacking confidence and making calculated decisions within a system.

It’s often a challenge to understand how a person’s life experiences have shaped their outlook and relationship to math when we haven’t necessarily experienced the same life. Recently my co-blogger Evelyn Lamb, who also blogs for Scientific American at Roots of Unity published Being a Trans Mathematician: A Q&A with Autumn Kent. In it Kent admits that her story of transition is not necessarily the same one shared by all trans women, but it’s very worthwhile to read about her story of coming out occurring in parallel with her trajectory as an academic mathematician.

Finally, this year at the JMM the outgoing MAA president Francis Su gave an address, which is now posted to his blog as Mathematics for Human Flourishing. His message of inclusions is a poignant one, and he speaks to the experience of minorities in math. In his post he addresses how important mathematics and a sense of belonging in the mathematical community are to our ability to flourish as humans. Whether we explore math for play, beauty, justice, or truth, math has something to teach us about the larger world. In it, Su says, “justice is required for human flourishing. We flourish—we experience shalom—when we treat others justly and when we are treated justly.”

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