The Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, Thadious M. Davis is a native of New Orleans. She earned a Ph.D. from Boston University and has held tenured professorships at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Brown University and Vanderbilt University, where she was the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English. She has taught and lectured in Europe and Asia, and during the summer of 2004 she delivered papers in Tokyo at Chuo University and at the International Faulkner Symposium, sponsored by the Faulkner Society of Japan.
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.