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Professor Oliver Davis

Professor Oliver Davis

Professor of French Studies

Email: O dot Davis at warwick dot ac dot uk
Room FAB 4.32 (Faculty of Arts Building)
University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK

Upcoming talks

  • ‘Henri Michaux: adventures of a reluctant psychedelic psychonaut’, Centre for the Study of Inequality, Difference and Culture, NTU, 26 October 2022.
  • 'Henri Michaux and the psychedelic humanities', UCL French Research Seminar, Wednesday 18 January 2023.
  • 'Henri Michaux's template for the psychedelic humanities', Oxford Modern French research seminar, Thursday 26 January 2023.

Please click here for a list of my recent talks.


The politics of psychedelics and the psychedelic humanities

I am currently researching the political stewardship of psychedelics, both in the 'psychedelic renaissance' today and in the psychedelic counterculture of the 1960s. I am co-editing a new series of articles on the psychedelic humanities for Frontiers in Psychology.

Hatred of Sex

Co-authored with Tim Dean, this book develops Jacques Rancière's account of the constitutive disorder of democracy to analyse the aversion to sex apparent in our culture. To listen to a discussion between the authors and psychoanalyst Eugenio Duarte, for the New Books in Psychology podcast click here.

Modern & Contemporary France

I am Executive Editor of Modern & Contemporary France,Link opens in a new window an internationally esteemed peer-reviewed journal, offering a scholarly view of France from 1789 to the present day. It is a multi-disciplinary journal, drawing particularly on the work of scholars in history and in cultural, literary and post-colonial studies, in film and media studies and in the political and social sciences. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss a Special Issue proposal or submitting an article.

The ends of autonomy

This collaborative research project explored the genealogy of ideas of freedom, autonomy, liberation and emancipation, current challenges to them and prospects for their future. An edited volume of essays arising from the project is under contract with Routledge.

Jacques Rancière: equality and the politics of aesthetics

Rancière Now, a volume of critical essays on Rancière's work, which I edited, was published by Polity Press in 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 time of writing. A German translation of this book, with a new Postscript, is available from Turia + Kant.

Warwick Seminar for Interdisciplinary French Studies

I currently convene this research seminar.

Teaching and supervision

I run a one-term final-year undergraduate module on literary representations of sex and sexuality (FR357 Sex and Sexuality in Contemporary French Writing), a second-year module on the French prison, a final-year module on policing in France and I also occasionally teach FR345 Modern French Thinkers.

I contribute to final-year French language teaching and assessment and MA teaching.

At Warwick I am currently co-supervising Neil Malloy's doctoral project on neoliberalism and political invisibility in the contemporary French novel (with Douglas Morrey) and Rachel Hayes's doctoral project on genders and temporalities in Medieval French texts (with Emma Campbell).


  • Hatred of Sex, co-authored with Tim Dean (Lincoln NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2022).
  • Jacques Rancière : Eine Einführung (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2014), a German translation by Brita Pohl, with a new Afterword, of the monograph immediately below.
  • 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).
Edited volumes
  • New Interdisciplinary Perspectives On and Beyond Autonomy, co-edited with Christopher Watkin (under contract with Routledge, publication anticipated late 2022).
  • Freedom and the Subject of Theory: Essays in Honour of Christina Howells, co-edited with Colin Davis (Oxford: Legenda, 2019).
  • Rancière Now ​(Cambridge: Polity, 2013).
Book chapters
  • 'Psychedelic Autonomy', forthcoming in New Interdisciplinary Perspectives On and Beyond Autonomy, co-edited with Christopher Watkin (under contract with Routledge, publication anticipated late 2022).
  • 'Prison everywhere? The imbrication of coercive and pastoral governance in the regulation of "chemsex" and new psychoactive substances', in Susannah Wilson (ed.), Prohibitions and Psychoactive Substances in History, Culture and Theory (London: Routledge, 2019), 209-234.
  • '"Glearning" from Jacques Rancière', in The Practice of Equality: Jacques Rancière and Critical Pedagogy, ed. by Stephen Cowden and David Ridley (Bern: Peter Lang, 2019), 45-66.
  • 'Foucault and the Queer Pharmatopia', in After Foucault: Culture, Theory, and Criticism in the 21st Century, ed. by Lisa Downing (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 170-184.
  • '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 [1970]', 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 issues
  • The Anti-Police of Mai '68 Fifty Years On, a special issue of Modern & Contemporary France 26, 2 (May 2018). Read the free-to-access introduction here.
  • Bareback Sex and Queer Theory Across Three National Contexts (France, UK, US), a special issue of Sexualities guest-edited by Oliver Davis. Sexualities 18, 1-2 (February 2015).
  • 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.
  • 'Anthropotechnical practising in the foam-world', Angelaki 26, 1 (2021), special issue on Peter Sloterdijk, edited by Patrick Roney and Andrea Rossi: 109-123.
  • 'Neoliberal capitalism's bureaucracies of "governance"', New Formations 100-101 (2020), special issue on bureaucracy, edited by Jeremy Gilbert: 60-76.
  • 'Theorising the advent of weaponized drones as techniques of domestic paramilitary policing', Security Dialogue 50, 4 (August 2019): 344-360.Link opens in a new window
  • 'Managing (in)security in Paris in Mai 68', Modern & Contemporary France 26, 2 (May 2018), special issue guest-edited by Oliver Davis, The Anti-Police of Mai '68 Fifty Years On: 129-143.
  • 'Mettray revisited in Jean Genet's Le Langage de la muraille', French History 30, 4 (December 2016): 546-566.
  • 'Leading by example: A queer critique of personalization and coercive community governance in Act Up-Paris’s operation against the bareback writers', Sexualities 18, 1-2 (February 2015): 141-157.
  • '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 hereLink opens in a new window.
  • ‘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.
  • 'The time we need must always be taken; never wait for it to be given'Link opens in a new window. Contribution to the Verso blog on the occasion of the publication of Jacques Rancière's Modern Times in English translation (July 2022).
  • Review essay of Luca Provenzano, 'Beyond the Matraque: State Violence and Its Representation during the Parisian 1968 Events', H-Diplo Article Review 916.
  • 'reading for understanding is problematic: Panagia's Rancière's sentiments', review essay, Theory & Event 21, 4 (2018): 987-992.
  • 'Resiling from "Resilience"', Studies in Gender and Sexuality 17, 2 (2016): 135-138.
  • 'On Sur les toits', for a symposium of short papers on the prison protests in early 1970s France, curated by Marijn Nieuwenhuis, June 2016.
  • 'Jacques Rancière', Oxford Bibliographies in Literary and Critical Theory, ed. by Eugene O’Brien. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • 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.

Background and formal qualifications

After studying for a BA in French and Philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford, I stayed on to complete an M.St. and D.Phil (PhD) there. I subsequently taught at Wadham and at the ENS in Paris before starting at Warwick in 2006.