In Memoriam: David Golumbia

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b2o: the online community of boundary 2 is mourning our friend and co-editor David Alan Golumbia. David had recently been elected as part of a six-person team to edit boundary 2 after the journal’s longtime editor Paul Bové stepped down. Apart from having been a founding and driving force behind b2o, where so much of his work remains visible through the reviews he solicited and special issues he edited or co-edited, David was also a passionate teacher at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he was Professor of English. At b2o and in the editorial collective of b2, we knew David as a generously critical scholar whose expertise in computation studies and media studies (and far beyond) we appreciated and learned from.

As a scholar, David will be remembered for his landmark book The Cultural Logic of Computation (Harvard University Press, 2009) and its critique of what he called “computationalism”. David worked closely together on this project with his editor at Harvard, our fellow bounder Lindsay Waters. David’s short polemic The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), a book from which I date my own conversations with David, began to sketch what would become his highly anticipated second book, Cyberlibertarianism (to be published by the University of Minnesota Press).

David presented materials from Cyberlibertarianism the last time I saw him, at the boundary 2 conference at Dartmouth in April 2022. Perhaps because I had initially encountered his voice on Twitter (now known as X) where David (in spite of his dislike of the medium) was often engaged in important and at times heated debates, his real-life presence always struck me as soft-spoken, kind, and caring in its delivery of his sharp insights. Many of us still saw David at the most recent boundary 2 event in April 2023 and we are deeply shocked by his sudden passing. Our community has lost, in the words of Paul Bové (who brought David into the boundary 2 collective), “an outstanding bounder: a good friend, a fine correspondent, a generous person, and a rigorous intellectual” whose work and spirit we intend to memorialize in future projects.

–Arne De Boever, on behalf of boundary 2 online: the online community of boundary 2

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