Book Review of Dr. Eric Vandendriessche's String figures as Mathematics? An anthropological approach to string figure-making in oral tradition societies Review (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Shockey, Tod L


  • Eric Vandendriessche takes readers on a wonderful journey exploring string figures. Vandendriessche holds a Ph.D. in history and philosophy of sciences from Paris Diderot University. Dr. Vandendriessche’s ethnomathematics research extensively, approaching exhaustively, explores the historical and current string figure engagement of peoples from around the globe. When D’Ambrosio (1985) offered up his definition of ethnomathematics, he included “codes and jargons.” The codes and jargon that Vandendriessche brings to our attention, both from the past and his creations, reveals an original scholarship to an area thatearly mathematics explored as a “recreation.” Vandendriessche reveals that the mathematician Ian Stewart (1997) “claims that the description and mathematical characterization of string figure-making is still an open issue and could be a challenge to contemporary mathematicians” (cited in Vandendriessche, 2015, p. 5). Engaging a mathematical lens in 1911, Walter Ball is credited as the first mathematician to shown an interest in string figures (Vandendriessche, p. 67).


publication date

  • 2016


start page

  • 53

end page

  • 55