Carlos Gonçalves is an associate professor at the School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and a foreign associate researcher at the SPHERE Laboratoire (Paris 7, CNRS). He has also been a research fellow at Exeter University (2003-2005), a visiting researcher at the University of Vienna (2009) and a laureate of the Research in Paris Program (2012). His research focuses on the history of knowledge in the Ancient Near East, specifically mathematical knowledge and the connection between the scholastic milieu and the practical life.
History of science and knowledge in Ancient Mesopotamia: mathematical practices; scribal education; literate professionals and their milieu; quantification and mensuration in daily life; state or public administration and its mathematical tools. The history of the ancient Mesopotamian kingdom of Ešnunna: officials and knowledge as prestige and power insignia; strategies of interaction and management.
Mathematics in Administrative and Economic Practices in Ancient Mesopotamia
This project studies mathematical practices in the kingdom of Ešnunna, a power that dominated the region of the river Diyala, northeast from present-day Baghdad, during the first half of the Old Babylonian period (c. 2000-1600 BCE).
The corpus of documents I will examine is constituted by letters from officials at the service of the king, receipts of objects taken into and from an important temple of the region, private legal real-state contracts, loan contracts and school tablets.
The specific goal is to identify and analyse (i) mathematical knowledge – quantification and mensuration mainly – that was put into practice or engendered by such documents; and (ii) how the areas of life to which this knowledge was applied were in part also shaped by such knowledge.
Although set in the ancient context, the present research has a contemporary political motivation too, as metrics, quantification and statistics have been increasingly employed in the control and administration of social and cultural life.
Mathematical Tablets from Tell Harmal, Springer, 2015.
« Notas sobre a Recepção da Matemática Mesopotâmica na Historiografia » in EMP, São Paulo, vol. 14, n° 3, 2012, p. 322-335.
« Analytical Thinking in Mesopotamian Mathematics », in Proceedings of the Third International Conference of the European Society for the History of Science, Vienna, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2008.
« An alternative to the Pythagorean rule ?», in Historia Mathematica, vol. 35/3, 2007, p. 173-189.