I'm teaching a course this term on the history of scripts (writing systems) and rather than talking interminably about Semitic and Chinese and their spawn, I'd like to give students a more varied diet, with plenty of content from things other than alphabets alone. Math notation is an important part of the menu I have in mind, and I'm writing now to ask for recommendations as to articles suited to general college-student readers.
I know the rich Cajori book History of Mathematical Notations (which dates from the Hoover Presidency) and Jeff Smith's website http://jeff560.tripod.com/mathsym.html. Both are filled with detail, and detail is good. But I'd also like to find some more general, focused, and readable essays about the intellectual history of this field. Do kindly share your favorites with me.
What I'm looking for is not abstract semiotics but concrete ideas — and perhaps disputes over ideas, which are often helpful for understanding what was important to people in a different time and state of mind than ours.
Addendum: Since there has been little movement since the original post, let me add a bit more about what I know. I have a bibliography of twenty-two items at the end of John Sören Pettersson's "Numerical Notation," Section 69 of Peter T. Daniels and William Bright's The World's Writing Systems, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 795–806. It is very concise, and it lacks the idea-orientation I am hoping to find.