Dr Oliver Davis
After studying for a BA in French and Philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford, I stayed on to complete doctoral work there. I have been teaching in the Department of French Studies at Warwick since 2006.
My current research
Rancière Now, a volume of new critical essays on Jacques Rancière which I edited, has just been published by Polity Press (September 2013).
I have also published my own critical introduction to Rancière's work. That book undertakes a comprehensive analysis of his thought from 1965 to the present and aspires to disseminate it to an English-speaking readership of academics from the disciplines of philosophy, history, cultural studies, French studies, English and politics, as well as to artists, policy-makers, activists and other non-academic readers. A German translation of this book, with a new Postscript, is currently in preparation and will be available later this year from Turia + Kant.
To see a recording of an interview I did with Jacques Rancière, about his work on film, click here. To see a short interview with me (or a longer paper) about Rancière's distinctive conception of equality, click here.
I am also interested in twentieth-century and contemporary French fiction (particularly the work of François Bon), in literary-critical methodology (I have published on la critique génétique and on issues in psychoanalytic criticism). I am very preoccupied with queer theory at the moment (see below) and have a longstanding interest in French gay and queer literary culture (particularly in relation to Guillaume Dustan).
I welcome enquiries from students who may be considering embarking on a MA or a PhD in areas either squarely within, or touching upon, my current research.
Ongoing research collaboration
I am currently Programme Director of Warwick University's Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature and the Arts.
Queer Theory in France
I am working alongside Dr Hector Kollias (King’s College London) on this three-year research project, which is funded by the AHRC under its Early Career scheme. The project aims both to analyze the particular uses made of the post-war French intellectual tradition by queer theorists working in Britain and the United States and to account for resistance to the queer theory they developed on its subsequent return 'home' to France. To visit the project website click here.
I am in the process of guest-editing a special issue of the leading journal Sexualities entitled Bareback Sex and Queer Theory Across Three National Contexts (France, UK, US). This special issue will develop and disseminate work presented at the first Warwick project symposium and is provisionally scheduled for publication in July 2014.
Teaching, research supervision and departmental administration
My main teaching and research interests lie in twentieth-century and contemporary French literature, Continental philosophy and theory, including and in particular queer theory.
I am currently supervising two doctoral projects: Alex Corcos's thesis on Situationism and contemporary protest movements and Kayte Stokoe's work on the theory, practice and cultural representation of drag.
I currently convene our new Sub-Faculty of Modern Languages core MA for Research module on critical and cultural theory, IT914-30 Critical Theory in Modern Languages.
I run a final-year module on literary representations of sex and sexuality (FR409 Modern Sexualities) and a second-year module on political activism by intellectuals in France (FR247 Intellectual Interventions: Politics, Literature and the Left during and after the Algerian War). I co-teach a two-term special subject module, with Douglas Morrey, on contemporary French literature (FR324 French Contemporary Writing from 2000 to the present). I also contribute to first and final-year language teaching and assessment.
As Department Senior Tutor
As Senior Tutor in the Department of French Studies I endeavour to promote the academic welfare of all our students, individually and collectively. Students based in this department are encouraged to approach me, in confidence, in addition to their Personal Tutor, for support when facing difficulties with their studies. I have regular weekly 'office hours' in normal teaching weeks (please see below), during which any student based in this department is welcome to drop in for a chat. Subject to my teaching, research and administrative commitments I am also happy to see students at other times.
Email: O dot Davis at warwick dot ac dot uk
Office: Humanities Building, Level 4, H4.33
Office hours: Tuesday 12-1 and Thursday 12-1 in full term (not Reading Weeks).
Jacques Rancière (Cambridge: Polity, 2010).
Age Rage and Going Gently: Stories of the Senescent Subject in Twentieth-Century French Writing (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2006).
Rancière Now (Cambridge: Polity, 2013).
'Desublimation in Education for Democracy', in Stiegler & Technics, ed. by Christina Howells and Gerald Moore (Edinburgh: Edinburgh Universtity Press, 2013), 165-178.
'Eastwood reading Beauvoir reading Eastwood: combative self-assertion in Gran Torino (2008) and Old Age ', in Existentialism and Contemporary Cinema: A Beauvoirian Perspective, ed. by Ursula Tidd and Jean-Pierre Boulé (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012), 135-148.
'Guillaume Dustan's "autopornobiographie": Is there room for trash in the queer subcultural archive?', in Alienation and Alterity: Otherness in Modern and Contemporary Francophone contexts, ed. by Helen Vassallo & Paul Cooke (Bern: Peter Lang, 2009), 59-76.
‘Theorizing Writerly Creativity: Jung with Lacan?’, in Post-Jungian Criticism: Theory and Practice, ed. by Baumlin & Jensen (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004), 55-74.
Journal special issue
Queer Theory's Return to France, special issue ed. by Oliver Davis and Hector Kollias, Paragraph 35, 2 (2012). To see the Table of Contents click here.
'Jacques Rancière et l'art contemporain : un échange d'histoires d'amour et de tyrannicide / Jacques Rancière and Contemporary Art: Swapping Stories of Love and Tyrannicide', Critique d'art 41 (Spring-Summer 2013), 14-30.
'Didier Eribon, restive rationalist: the limits of sociological self-understanding in Retour à Reims', French Cultural Studies 23, 2 (May 2012), special issue on Didier Eribon, ed. by Bill Marshall, 117-126.
'The Radical Pedagogies of François Bon and Jacques Rancière', French Studies 64, 2 (April 2010), 178-91.
'Rancière and Queer Theory: on irritable attachment', in Borderlands 8, 2 (October 2009), special issue: Jacques Rancière on the Shores of Queer Theory, ed. by Samuel Chambers and Michael O'Rourke. To see the special issue click here.
‘The Author at Work in Genetic Criticism’, Paragraph 25,1 (March 2002), 92-101.
French Women Philosophers: A Contemporary Reader, ed. by Christina Howells (London: Routledge, 2004), nine chapters thereof, including pieces by Monique Schneider, Sarah Kofman, Monique David-Ménard and Myriam Revault d’Allonnes.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The World of Perception (London: Routledge, 2004). Seven radio lectures on phenomenology, science and aesthetics, delivered in 1948.
Review article: Cervulle & Rees-Roberts, Homo Exoticus (Armand Colin, 2010) and Grandena and Johnston (eds.), New Queer Images (Peter Lang, 2011), Contemporary French Civilization 37, 1 (2012), 107-110.
'Five Questions for Jacques Rancière / Cinq questions à Jacques Rancière', Contemporary French & Francophone Studies: Sites 16, 2 (2012), 151-6.
'Re-visions: remarks on the love of cinema: An interview with Jacques Rancière by Oliver Davis', The Journal of Visual Culture 10, 3 (December 2011), 294-304.
'Guillaume Dustan', entry for The Literary Encyclopedia: link to article here.
Reviews for French Studies, Modern Language Review and Modern and Contemporary France.
‘The Institutional Entrenchment of Queer in the French Academy: an état présent with a new-universalist analysis of ambivalence about futurity, expertise, theory and “neo-liberalism”’ at 'Queer Theory and Academia: The Case of France in an International Frame', Warwick University, 14 December 2013.
'Foucault Tomorrow: Codicil for a Queer Pharmatopia', at the inaugural 'Critical Sexology in the Midlands' research seminar: 'Rethinking Foucault for 21st-Century Sexuality Studies', Birmingham University, 14 February 2014.
‘La forteresse vide; Seguin Island’, as part of a panel entitled 'The French Factory Dismembered/Remembered', with Jackie Clarke and Jeremy F. Lane, 20th and 21st Century French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium, New York City, 6-8 March 2014.
Roundtable, 'Methodologies and the National Question', Queer Italian Film Study Day, Warwick University, 27 June 2013.
Roundtable, with Cath Lambert, Rahul Rao and Jonathan Heron, at the 'Gendered Knowledges' one-day interdisciplinary workshop, Warwick University, 12 June 2013.
'"French republican universalism" and the "event" of queer theory', French Research Seminar, Birmingham University, 19 February 2013.
Keynote lecture: 'Jacques Rancière: aesthetics, equality and the feel of contingency', TBLR (Text, Image, Sound, Space) two-day seminar on Jacques Rancière and aesthetics, Bergen University, 29 and 30 November 2012.
Roundtable, 'Aesthetics as Method', with Christine Battersby, L.H.M. Ling and Nirmal Puwar, as part of workshop entitled 'The Political Aesthetics of Power and Protest', Warwick University, 25 September 2012.
Chair and organizer, 'Close Encounter' session with Jacques Rancière, 'Politics/Aesthetics', International Association for Philosophy and Literature annual conference, Tallinn, Estonia, 2 June 2012.
'The Politics of Self-Esteem', Sheffield University, 17 May 2012.
'Eastwood Reading Beauvoir Reading Eastwood: Ageing and Combative Self-Assertion in Gran Torino and Old Age', presentation to the third BRAID Project workshop, Copenhagen 16-17 June 2011.
'Didier Eribon's strategic sociologism', University of Stirling, 23 April 2011.
'Are "sex pigs" political subjects? Queer sexual self-animalization and political theory', as part of a panel with Denis Provencher and Dan Maroun entitled 'Queering the Non/Human in French Studies', at the 20th and 21st Century French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium, San Francisco, 30 March - 2 April 2011.
'What follows from Jacotisme? Exploring Jacques Rancière’s concept of "declarative" or "active" equality’, Twentieth and Twenty-First Century French Research Seminar, Cambridge University, 26 October 2010. To see a video of the talk and a 5-minute interview about the topic click here.
Public discussion with Jacques Rancière on the occasion of the launch of the Dutch translations of La Fable cinématographique and Le Destin des images, Amsterdam EYE Film Instituut, September 2010. To see a video of the interview on the Octavo Publicaties website click here.
'A queer reply to Adam Phillips' "escapological" psychoanalysis of bareback', as part of a panel with Patrick ffrench (KCL) and Hector Kollias (KCL) at the 'Writings of Intimacy in the 20th and 21st Centuries' conference, Loughborough University, September 2010.
'A Rancierian reflection on class nostalgia in times of crisis: Didier Eribon's Retour à Reims (2009)', ASMCF annual conference, Nottingham Trent University, September 2010.
'Psychoanalysis contemplates queerness: cases of resistance and identification in recent French and British psychoanalytic discourse', February 2010, at King's College London's Queer@Kings research seminar.
'Jacques Rancière lectures on aesthetics', at the research seminar of Warwick University's Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature and the Arts, October 2009.