Mathematics: Body, Earth, Cosmos


This research project focuses on the embodied nature of mathematical activity, be it expert, novice, maverick or nonhuman. Tapping philosophical, historical, psychological and anthropological perspectives, the project builds a crystalline portrait of mathematics, exploring new theoretical developments and innovative research methods that shed significant light on the material practices of mathematical activity, broadly conceived. Project activities include a mixture of sensory and multi-modal experiments and micro-ethnographic studies, as well as philosophical analyses exploring the inventive side of mathematics. Empirical studies are currently underway focused on craft and mathematics, escape rooms and public mathematics pedagogy, gestural and diagrammatic mathematical compositions, and the role of speculative thought, concept-creation, and settler colonialism in mathematical world building. A project funded by the World University Network focuses on innovative environmental mathematics curriculum across seven sites (lead: Bristol University, 2020-2021) 

Investigators and collaborators include: Elizabeth de Freitas, Manchester Metropolitan University; Alf Coles, Bristol University; Francesca Ferrara, University of Torino: Ricardo Nemirovsky, Manchester Metropolitan University; Kate O’ brien, Manchester Metropolitan University; Jérôme Proulx, University of Montréal; Nathalie Sinclair, Simon Fraser University; Mamta Taik, Manchester Metropolitan University.


Publications and outcomes include:


Books & Edited collections


de Freitas, E. & Sinclair, N. (2019). Body studies in mathematics education: Diverse scales of mattering. ZDM: International Journal of Mathematics Education Research.

de Freitas, E., Sinclair, N. & Coles, A. (Eds.). (2017). What is a mathematical concept? Cambridge University Press.

de Freitas, E. & Walshaw, M. (2016). Alternative theoretical frameworks for mathematics education research: Theory meets Data. Dordrecht: Springer-Verlag Publishing

Jurdak, M. Vithal, R., de Freitas, E., Gates, P., Kollosche, D. (2016). Social and political dimensions of mathematics education: Current thinking. ICME Topical Survey. Springer Verlag. 

de Freitas, E. & Sinclair, N. (2014). Mathematics and the body: Material entanglements in the classroom. Cambridge University Press. Book awarded an AERA book award from Division of Curriculum Studies.  Now being translated into Korean.



de Freitas, E. & Sinclair, N. (2020-Fall). Measurement as relational, intensive, inclusive: Towards a minor mathematics. Journal of Mathematical Behavior.

de Freitas, E., Ferrara, F & Ferrari, G. (2019). The coordinated movements of collaborative mathematical tasks: The role of affect in transindividual sympathy. ZDM: International Journal of Mathematics Education, 51(2), 305-318.

Sinclair, N. & de Freitas, E. (2019). Body studies in mathematics: Diverse scales of mattering. ZDM: International Journal of Mathematics Education Research, 51(2), 227-237.

de Freitas, E. & Sinclair, N. (2018). The quantum mind: Alternative ways of reasoning with uncertainty. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 18(3), 271-283.

de Freitas, E. (2018). The mathematical continuum: A haunting problematic. The mathematics enthusiast, 15 (1-2), 148-158.

de Freitas, E. (2016). Number sense and calculating children: Multiplicity, measure and Mathematical monsters. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 37(5), 650-661. 

de Freitas, E. & Sinclair, N. (2016). The cognitive labour of mathematics dis/ability: Neurocognitive approaches to number sense. International Journal of Education Research, 79, 220-230.

de Freitas, E. (2016). Material encounters and media events: What (kind of mathematics) can a body do? Educational Studies in Mathematics, 91 (2), 185-202