Vanderbilt Professor Slams College Math as ‘White’ Space

Luis Leyva /

Vanderbilt Professor Luis Leyva described college math as “white” and “cis-hetero-patriarchal” in a paper delivered this month at a major mathematics summit, the College Fix has reported.

Leyva, who is associate professor of mathematics education at Vanderbilt University, was invited to give the Spectra Lavender Lecture in Boston at the Joint Mathematics Meetings 2023, described as “largest mathematics gathering in the world.”

The Lavender Lecture was established in 2022 by Spectra, the association for LGBTQ+ mathematicians and their allies, to honor LGBTQ+ mathematicians who have made significant contributions to the mathematical sciences, mathematical education, or the mathematical community at large.

Leyva titled his paper “Undergraduate Mathematics Education as a White, Cisheteropatriarchal Space and Opportunities for Structural Disruption to Advance Queer of Color Justice” and in it he presented findings from conversations with 39 undergraduate queer and trans* (QT) students of color.

His findings depicted how the experience of QT students of color reflect “instances of oppression and resistance at intersecting systems of white supremacy and cisheteropatriarchy,” Leyva said.

STEM Education is “a White, Cisheteropatriarchal Space,” Leyva asserted, and in it intersectional oppression unfolds among QT students of color.

Undergraduate mathematics education “operates as a white, cisheteropatriarchal space that limits learning opportunities affirming of queer of color identities and experiences,” he declared.

According to his official bio, Leyva’s academic research “explores narratives of oppression and agency across historically marginalized groups’ educational experiences to uncover interlocking functions of racism and cisheteropatriarchy in undergraduate STEM.”

He draws on “critical race theory, women of color feminisms, and queer of color critique to conceptually and methodologically ground his scholarship,” the site states, “which centers historically marginalized voices in STEM higher education across intersections of race, gender, and sexuality.”


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