Tobias Warner

Tobias Warner

Position Title
Associate Professor of French
Affiliated Faculty of Comparative Literature
Affiliated Faculty of Critical Theory

505 Sproul Hall

Education and Degree(s)

  • Ph.D., Comparative Literature (French, Wolof, English), University of California, Berkeley


Tobias Warner’s research focuses on francophone African literature. His first book is The Tongue-Tied Imagination: Decolonizing Literary Modernity in Senegal, forthcoming from Fordham University Press. The book studies how a debate over whether to write in French, the former colonial language, or in Wolof, the most widely spoken vernacular, drove Senegalese writers to modernize older textual and performance traditions to make them conform with globalized norms of literary culture. In 2017, Warner was awarded the Malcolm Bowie Prize for an essay that appeared in PMLA, entitled “How Mariama Bâ Became World Literature.”  Awarded annually by the Society for French Studies, the Prize recognizes the best article published by an early-career researcher in the broader discipline of French Studies. Since coming to UC Davis in 2012, Warner’s research has been supported by the UC Humanities Research Institute, the Mellon Foundation, the Davis Humanities Institute, and the Hellman Family Foundation. Warner regularly teaches courses in the field of Francophone Studies, with a focus on how the legacies of French imperialism continue to shape the culture and politics of the present.

Selected Publications

How Mariama Bâ Became World Literature: Translation and the Legibility of Feminist Critique,” PMLA, October 2016.

Para-Literary Ethnography and Colonial Self-Writing: The Student Notebooks of the William Ponty School,” Research in African Literatures, Volume 47, Issue 1, Spring 2016.

“Enacting Postcolonial Translation: Voice, Color and Free Indirect Discourse in the Restored Version of Sembène’s La Noire de...” in Translating the Postcolonial, Judith Misrahi-Barak and Srilata Ravi, (eds.), Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2017.