Finn Brunton

Finn Brunton Portrait

Position Title

1246C, Social Sciences and Humanities
1 Shields Avenue, Davis CA 95616


(Portrait by my sister Tessa Brunton)

Research Focus

Histories and theories of technology; history of computing (pre- and post-electronic), networking, early programming, cryptography; hacking and hacker culture, free and open source software; failed technologies, vaporware, theories of hype, dead media, abandoned infrastructure; transhumanism, cosmism, cryonics, Extropians; surveillance and privacy; currencies, cryptocurrencies, transaction and payment systems, debt, alternative and experimental currencies; history of capitalism, socialist calculation problem, Cybersyn, autonomy, workerism/operaismo; ancient technologies: knots and knotting, cordage and textiles, mnemonics, metallurgy, foraging, load carriage; abolitionist projects; historiography, theories of history, Ginzburg, Braudel, Koselleck; manufacturing and logistics. Currently working on a project about the history and practices of rational utopians and their media over the last two hundred years or so


Digital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency. Princeton University Press, 2019

Communication. With Mercedes Bunz and Paula Bialski. University of Minnesota / Meson Press, 2019

Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest. With Helen Nissenbaum. MIT Press, 2015

Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet. MIT Press, April 2013

“Hacking.” In: Handbook of Digital Media and Communication (ed. Leah Lievrouw, Brian Loader). New York: Routledge, 2020

“Spam.” In: The SAGE Handbook of Web History (ed. Niels Brügger, Ian Milligan). Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, 2018

“Notes from /dev/null.” Internet Histories 1:1-2, March 2017