Ron Eglash

Department of Science and Technology Studies

Biography & Research

Dr. Ron Eglash received his B.S. in Cybernetics, his M.S. in Systems Engineering, and his PhD in History of Consciousness, all from the University of California. A Fulbright postdoctoral fellowship enabled his field research on African ethnomathematics, which was published by Rutgers University Press as African Fractals: modern computing and indigenous design, and recently appeared as his TED talk. He is a Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he teaches design of educational technologies and graduate seminars in social studies of science. His “Culturally Situated Design Tools” software, offering math and computing education from indigenous and vernacular arts, is available for free at Recently funded work includes his NSF “Triple Helix” project, which brings together graduate fellows in science and engineering with local community activists and K-12 educators to seek new approaches to putting science and innovation in the service of under-served populations.


Eglash, R., Krishnamoorthy M., Sanchez J., Woodbridge, A. “Fractal Simulations of African Design in Pre-college Computing Education.” ACM Transactions on Computing Education, forthcoming.

Eglash, R. and Bennett, A. “Teaching with Hidden Capital: Agency in Children’s Mathematical Explorations of Cornrow Hairstyle Simulations.” Children, Youth, and Environments vol. 19, No 1, April 2009.

Eglash, R., Bennett, A., O’Donnell, C., Jennings, S., and Cintorino, M. “Culturally Situated Design Tools: Ethnocomputing from Field Site to Classroom.” American Anthropologist, June 2006.

Eglash, R. “Ethnocomputing with Native American Design.” In Laurel Evelyn Dyson, Max Hendriks and Stephen Grant (ed) Information Technology and Indigenous People, Idea Group 2006.

Eglash, R., Croissant, J., Di Chiro, G., and Fouché, R. (ed) Appropriating Technology: vernacular science and social power. University of Minnesota Press, 2004.

Eglash, R. “A Two-way bridge across the digital divide.” Chronicle of Higher Education, B12 June 21 2002.

Eglash, R. “Race, Sex and Nerds: from Black Geeks to Asian-American Hipsters.” Social Text, 20:2, pp. 49-64, Summer 2002

Eglash, R. African Fractals: modern computing and indigenous design. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press 1999.

Eglash, R. “Fractals in African Settlement Architecture.” Complexity vol 4/no2 nov-dec 1998.

Eglash, R. “Bamana sand divination: recursion in ethnomathematics.” American Anthropologist, v99 n1, p. 112-122, March 1997.