Dr Caroline Davis

Senior Lecturer in Publishing

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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, Project Assistant, British National Corpus, Oxford University Press

Undergraduate Teaching

  • Publishing and Book History: Theories and Approaches (module leader)
  • Publishing Major Project and Major Interdisciplinary Project (module leader)

Postgraduate Teaching

  • Subject Coordinator of the MA in Publishing Studies (distance learning).
  • PUBL7009 The History and Culture of Publishing (module leader)
  • PUBL7024 Publishing Major Project (module leader)
  • PUBL7009 Culture of Publishing (module leader, distance learning programme)
  • PUBL7021 Independent Study (module leader, distance learning programme)


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) and the co-editor of The Book in Africa: Critical Debates (Palgrave, 2015). 

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 the lead applicant of the British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Project entitled Print Culture in South Africa in the 20th Century (2014-16), between Oxford Brookes University and University of Pretoria. She is also the leader of the Print Culture Research Group at Oxford Brookes University. She organised The Academic Book in the South conference at the British Library in March 2016: an investigation into the future of the academic book in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.

Membership of Professional Bodies

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

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

Member of the UK Africa Studies Association (ASAUK).

Books and other publications

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

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

The Politics of the Electronic Text, ed. with Warren Chernaik and Marilyn Deegan (Oxford: Office for Humanities Communication, 1993).

Computers and Languages, ed. with Marilyn Deegan (Oxford: Office for Humanities Communication, 1992).


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

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

‘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. Vol. 7. Cambridge University Press. (In press, forthcoming).

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

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

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

‘Publishing Wole Soyinka: Oxford University Press and the Making of Africa’s Own William Shakespeare’, The Journal of Postcolonial Writing (forthcoming, published online 2011).

Research Dissemination

Conference and Seminar Papers Given Since 2000

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.

Convenor of the ‘History of the Book in Africa’ panels, Africa Studies Association UK, Sussex University, September 2014.

Co-organiser of The Book in Africa symposium, Institute of English Studies, University of London, October 2012.

Conference Papers:

‘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’, Invited speaker at the ‘Annual Seminar in Print Culture’, 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. 

'Publishing Oswald Mtshali', Africa Studies Association UK 2014, University of Sussex, September 2014.

‘Creating a Book Empire: Longmans in Africa, 1933-1957’, Print Networks in Africa, September 2014.

'Segregating readers: The Book Policies of the Department of Education in Pretoria, 1935-1965', Pretoria In/Imprint Conference, University of Pretoria, May 2014.

'Erasing the Record: Longmans in South Africa 1910-1994', Seminars in Book History Series, University of Pretoria, May 2014.

'Oxford University Press and the Publication of Oswald Mtshali's Sounds of a Cowhide Drum', Print, Publishing and Cultural Production in South Africa conference, University of Pretoria, May 2013.

'Progressing Publishing Studies: Challenges and Issues', Progressing Book History and Publishing Studies as Disciplines workshop, Oxford Brookes University, May 2013.

'The Retreat from Liberal Publishing: Oxford University Press in South Africa under Apartheid.' SHARP conference, Washington, July 2011.

'Publishing Wole Soyinka', Colloquium on 'The Postcolonial Book', Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, March 2011.

'Publishing Athol Fugard's Statements Plays', SHARP conference, Toronto, July 2009.