In 1988–89, Professor Davis held the Walt Whitman Chair in American Civilization, a Fulbright Distinguished Chair, at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.
She is the author of Games of Property: Law, Race, Gender and Faulkner's "Go Down Moses", Nella Larsen: Novelist of the Harlem Renaissance and Faulkner's 'Negro': Art and the Southern Context. She is also editor of numerous reference texts, including the Penguin Classics edition of Nella Larsen's Quicksand and Passing, and co-edited Satire or Evasion: Black Perspectives on Huckleberry Finn.
She has been a fellow at the Newberry Library in Chicago; the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library; and the Huntington Library in California, where she held the R. Stanton Avery Distinguished Fellowship. Currently, co-editor of the Gender and American Culture Series of the University of North Carolina Press, she is writing a monograph on African-American writers and the American South.