A vital speaker, Davis has given talks at universities, media art conferences, and festivals around the world. He has taught seminars at the UC Berkeley, UC Davis, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and Rice University, as well as workshops at the New York Open Center and Esalen. He has been interviewed by CNN, NPR, the New York Times, and the BBC, and appeared in numerous documentaries, as well as in Craig Baldwin’s underground film Specters of the Spectrum. He wrote the libretto for and performed in “How to Survive the Apocalypse,” a Burning Man-inspired rock opera. He hosted the podcast Expanding Mind on the Progressive Radio Network for a decade, and earned his PhD in Religious Studies from Rice University in 2015. He currently writes the Substack publication Burning Shore.
Erik Davis, PhD, is an author, award-winning journalist, sometimes podcaster, and popular speaker based in San Francisco.
Davis was born during the Summer of Love within a stone’s throw of San Francisco. He grew up in North County, north of San Diego, and spent a decade on the East Coast, where he studied literature and philosophy at Yale and spent six years in the freelance trenches of Brooklyn and Manhattan before moving to San Francisco, where he currently resides. He is the author of five books: High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the 70s (MIT Press/Strange Attractor Press); Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica (Yeti, 2010); The Visionary State: A Journey through California’s Spiritual Landscape (Chronicle, 2006), with photographs by Michael Rauner; and the 33 1/3 volume Led Zeppelin IV (Continuum, 2005). His first and best-known book remains TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information (Crown, 1998), a cult classic of visionary media studies that has been translated into five languages and most recently republished by North Atlantic Press. He has contributed chapters on art, music, technoculture, and contemporary spirituality to over a dozen books, including Suzanne Treister’s HFT: The Gardener(Black Dog), Future Matters: the Persistence of Philip K. Dick (Palgrave), Sound Unbound: Writings on Contemporary Multimedia and Music Culture (MIT, 2008), AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Man (University of New Mexico, 2005), Rave Ascension (Routledge, 2003), and Zig Zag Zen (Chronicle, 2002). In addition to his many forewords and introductions, Davis has contributed articles and essays to a variety of periodicals, including Bookforum, Arthur, Artforum, Slate, Salon, Gnosis, Rolling Stone, the LA Weekly, Spin, Wired and the Village Voice.