Dr Caroline Davis

Senior Lecturer in Publishing

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Personal Profile

Academic and Professional Qualifications

  • PhD (English Literature), Open University
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Teaching in Higher Education, Oxford Brookes University
  • MA (English), University of York
  • BA (English and History), University of Birmingham


1993-present, Senior Lecturer in Publishing, Oxford Brookes University

1992-1993, Project Officer, Centre for Textual Studies, Humanities Computing, Oxford University

1990-1991, Research Assistant, British National Corpus, Oxford University Press

Undergraduate Teaching

  • Understanding Contexts: The History and Culture of Media
  • Publishing Major Project and Major Interdisciplinary Project

Postgraduate Teaching

  • PUBL7009 The History and Culture of Publishing 
  • PUBL7024 Publishing Major Project
  • PUBL7009 Culture of Publishing
  • PUBL7021 Independent Study


Caroline Davis's main teaching and research interests are in book history and publishing history from the 19th century to the 21st century. Her research focuses on British postcolonial publishing, and in particular on literary publishing histories in Africa. She is the author of Creating Postcolonial Literature: African Writers and British Publishers (Palgrave, 2013), co-editor of The Book in Africa: Critical Debates (Palgrave, 2015), and editor of Print Cultures: A Reader in Theory and Practice (Macmillan, 2019).

Caroline has specific research interests in the following areas: (1) the relationship between African authors and their publishers; (2) British colonial and postcolonial publishing in Africa; (3) the history of the book in Africa; (4) print and publishing culture in South Africa in the apartheid era. 

She is lead investigator of Agents in Change: Publishing and Print Culture in Southern Africa funded by a Global Challenges Collaborative Research Award (2018-20) and is co-investigator of the project Histories of Publishing Under Apartheid funded by a British Academy Newton Mobility Fund, with Dr Beth Le Roux, University of Pretoria (2018-2020). Previously, she was lead investigator of Print Culture in South Africa in the 20th Century (2014-16) between Oxford Brookes University and University of Pretoria, funded by the British Academy. She is also the co-leader of the Print Culture Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University.


Associate Editor, Cambridge Elements in Colonial and Postcolonial Publishing (Cambridge University Press)

Guest co-editor (with Archie Dick and Elizabeth Le Roux) of special issue on ‘Print Culture in Southern Africa’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 44.3, 2018.

Guest co-editor (with Vincent Trott) of special issue on ‘New Directions in Print Culture Studies’, Logos. 29.2-3 (2018).

Editor of The Journal of Publishing Culture, a postgraduate student journal.

Membership of Professional Bodies

Committee Member of the Africa Studies Association UK (ASAUK).

Oxford Brookes University Representative, The Association of Publishing Eduction (APE).

Member of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP)

Books and other publications

Print Cultures: A Reader in Theory and Practice (Macmillan, 2019).

The Book in Africa: Critical Debates, edited with David Johnson (Palgrave, 2015).

Creating Postcolonial Literature: African Writers and British Publishers (Palgrave, 2013). Monograph awarded ‘Outstanding Academic Title 2014’ by CHOICE, the journal of the American Library Association.  


‘The Book, Imperialism and Post-Imperialism’, in Andrew Nash, Claire Squires and Ian Willison, eds. The Cambridge History of the Book in the 20th Century. Cambridge University Press. (Cambridge University Press: 2019), pp. 679-697.

 ‘Playing the Game: The Publication of Oswald Mtshali’, in Rafe Dullea, ed. Bourdieu and Postcolonial Studies (Liverpool University Press, 2016).

 ‘Creating a Book Empire: Longmans in Africa’, in Caroline Davis and David Johnson, eds. The Book in Africa: Critical Debates (Palgrave, 2015)

Chapters in Anthologies

‘History of Publishing Under Apartheid: Oxford University Press in South Africa’, in Pramod K. Nayar (ed.), Postcolonial Studies (Wiley Blackwell, 2016).

 ‘The Politics of Postcolonial Publishing: Oxford University Press's Three Crowns Series 1962–76’, in Alexis Weedon, ed. The History of the Book in the West 1914-2000, Vol. 4 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010).

Journal Articles

'A Question of Power: Bessie Head and her Publishers', Journal of Southern African Studies (44: 3, 2018), pp. 491-506.

‘Publishing Anti-Apartheid Literature: Athol Fugard’s Statements Plays'The Journal of Commonwealth Literature (48:1, 2013), 113-129.

‘Publishing Wole Soyinka: Oxford University Press and the Making of Africa’s Own William Shakespeare’, The Journal of Postcolonial Writing (2013).

'Histories of Publishing Under Apartheid: Oxford University Press in South Africa’, Journal of Southern African Studies, (37:1, 2011), 79-98.

Research Dissemination

Conference and Seminar Papers

Conference Organisation:

  • Co-organiser of The Academic Book in the South, British Library, March 2016.
  • Organiser of Print Culture and the Nation one-day conference, Oxford Brookes University, March 2015.
  • Organiser of the colloquium Print Networks in Africa, Oxford Brookes University, 4 September 2014.
  • Co-organiser of The Book in Africa symposium, Institute of English Studies, University of London, October 2012.

Conference Papers:

  • 'Nat Nakasa, The Classic and the Cultural Cold War‘, New Directions in Southern African Print Cultures', University of Pretoria, May 2019.
  • 'Wind of Change: Macmillan, Politics and Publishing in Nigeria', 1960-75, Faithful to Our Task: 175 Years of Macmillan Publishing, October 2018, Institute of English Studies, London.
  • Segregating Books and Readers: Language, Publishing and Education in South Africa, 1935-1965’, SHARP 2016, Paris (July 2016).
  • ‘Macmillan’s Strategy in Africa in the 20th Century’, The House of Macmillan Symposium, University of Reading, June 2016.
  • ‘A Question of Power: The Publication of Bessie Head’, University of Pretoria, May 2016.
  • ‘Power, Politics and Postcolonial Publishing in Africa’, Invited speaker at’ The Politics of Academic Publishing’, Royal Society, March 2016.
  • 'Canonising African Writers for the Global Marketplace: The Publication of Oswald Mtshali’s Sounds of a Cowhide Drum', Writing (for) the Market conference, University of Munich, June 2015.
  • Keynote address, Print Culture and Colonialisation conference, Cape Town University, 28-29 May 2015.