This course is designed to examine issues of social, structural, and institutional hierarchies that intersect with mathematics and statistics. This year, the course will examine the themes of Belonging, Civil Rights, Political Districting, and Algorithms.
The word Algebra and its mathematical connotation stem from a 9th century Arabic treatise by al-Kwarizmi. This historical text dealt with finding the roots of a general quadratic polynomial equation, $ax^2+bx+c = 0$ for nonzero $a$, by completing the square, and this is where our journey begins. By the end of the course, we'll have an understanding of what tools and techniques modern (19th and 20th century) algebra brings to bear on polynomials and their roots.