York University Professor David Franklin Noble has died following complications of pneumonia. Prof. Noble died on Monday, Dec. 27 in Toronto. He was 65.
A critical historian of technology, science and education, Prof. Noble was perhaps best known for his book Forces of Production: A Social History of Industrial Automation (1984). Most recently, he published Beyond the Promised Land: The Movement and the Myth (2005). Until his death, he taught in the Social & Political Thought Program in the Department of Social Science in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.
Born July 25, 1945, in New York City, he had held positions at MIT, the Smithsonian Institution and Drexel University, as well as many visiting professorships.
In his role as an academic and critical historian, Prof. Noble’s numerous books and writings challenged core ideas and major institutions of technology, science, corporate capitalism and higher education.
The father of three daughters, Prof. Noble enjoyed music, nature and treasured his summers in the Vermont woods spent with his family, friends and colleagues.
He is survived by his wife Sarah Dopp of Toronto; daughters Clare O’Connor of Toronto, Helen O’Connor of Toulon, France and Alice O’Connor of Vancouver; sister Jane Pafford of Arcadia, Florida; and brothers Doug Noble of Rochester, NY, and Henry Noble of Seattle, Wash.
A public memorial service will be announced in the coming weeks.