• Ph.D., Art History and Theory, Western Sydney University (1998). Dissertation: Techniques and Tropes of Sound, Voice and Aurality in Artistic Modernism. Supervised by Dr. Helen Grace.
• M.A., Music Composition, World Music Program, Wesleyan University (1987). Studied with Alvin Lucier.
• M.F.A., Post-studio Art, Cal Arts (1976), Studied with Vito Acconci, David Antin, John Baldessari, Yvonne Rainer and James Tenney.
• Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts, The Evergreen State College (1973)
Douglas Kahn is an historian and theorist of energies in the arts, sound in the arts and sound studies, and media arts, from the late-19th Century to the present.
His books include Energies in the Arts (MIT Press, 2019); Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts (University of California Press, 2013); Noise Water Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (MIT Press, 1999); Mainframe Experimentalism: Early Computing and the Foundations of Digital Arts, edited with Hannah Higgins (University of California Press, 2012); and Source: Music of the Avant-garde, edited with Larry Austin (University of California Press, 2011).
He received an ARC Future Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Arts Writers Grant from Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation.
He is also Professor Emeritus at University of California at Davis, with previous positions as Professor and Founding Director of Technocultural Studies, UC Davis; Associate Professor of Media Arts and Production, University of Technology, Sydney, and Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance, Arizona State University West.
• Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize, Society for Literature, Science and the Arts, runner-up for Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts (2014).
• Arts Writers Grant, Creative Capital and Warhol Foundation, for Earth Sound Earth Signal (2009).
• Guggenheim Fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, The historical discovery of natural radio (2006—2007).
• John McCarron New Writing in Arts Criticism Award, 1989.
• Grand Prize Winner, MacIntosh Masters Computer Art Competition, 1989.
• Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, "The Natural History of Media: Aesthetics, nature and communications technology," (2012-2016): $816,391.