Laughing out of math class: The Vassar mathematikado and nineteenth-century women's education
Pavlis Honors College
The Mathematikado, created and performed by female students in 1886, parodied Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado to argue that women could master college-level math. Responding to social critique of their participation in traditionally male fields of study, these students used humor to prove their fluency in not only scientific knowledge but also popular culture. The Mathematikado participated in a larger phenomenon of rituals to commemorate college students' fulfillment of math requirements, most of which took place at men's colleges and involved burning and/or burying textbooks. Instead of literally burning their books, Vassar students employed an extended form of parody to take their place among the ranks of college students.
Fiss, L. K.
Laughing out of math class: The Vassar mathematikado and nineteenth-century women's education.
Retrieved from: https://digitalcommons.mtu.edu/michigantech-p/786