Cheryl Toman

Associate Professor of French, Director of the Ethnic Studies Program, Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program

Guilford House 207

Other Information

Education: PhD, Interdisciplinary French Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1996) with an emphasis on African Francophone Women Writers. MA, French, University of Illinois at Chicago (1989), with coursework at the Université de Paris III-- Sorbonne Nouvelle. BA, Teaching of French and Russian, University of Illinois at Chicago (1987), with coursework at the Université de Paris IV, Sorbonne.

Professor Toman’s area of research is African women’s writing with a special emphasis on authors from Cameroon, Gabon, and Mali. Her most recent book, Women Writers of Gabon: Literature and Herstory is forthcoming with Lexington Books. This study is the first book-length study in English of Gabonese literature and focuses on Gabon’s major contributions to African literature. Professor Toman’s first book, Contemporary Matriarchies in Cameroonian Francophone Literature (Summa, 2008) is the first comprehensive text on the history of women’s writing in Francophone Cameroon and concentrates specifically on women’s empowerment using African constructs to interpret tradition. Her third book project on which she is currently working involves comparative analysis between Malian women’s writing and Wassoulou music. She also has a secondary interest in women in the Arab world, specifically of the Middle East.

Toman has also directed four major collections of essays, Defying the Global Language: Perspectives in Ethnic Studies (Teneo, 2013), a special issue on women, war, and conflict for Women’s Studies International Forum (2009), a volume on women, activism, and the arts for Al-Raida, the journal of The Institute for Women’s Studies of the Arab World (2009), and a collection entitled, On Evelyne Accad:  Essays in Literature, Feminism, and Cultural Studies (2007) prefaced by Nawal El Saadawi.

An accomplished translator, Toman has translated several books, short stories, and poetry including Thérèse Kuoh-Moukoury’s Rencontres essentielles (Essential Encounters) that appeared in the MLA Texts and Translations Series in 2002. She has also collaborated on several other translated volumes including Noureddine Aba’s It Was Yesterday Sabra and Chatila with E. Accad (L’Harmattan, 2004), she directed the translation of Alice Endamne’s Afropean (Createspace 2015), and wrote the afterwords for The Fury and Cries of Women by A. Rawiri, translated by Sara Hanaburgh (University of Virginia Press, 2014) and Edna Merey-Apinda’s The Moonlight Tales, translated by Beth Johnston (Createspace 2016).

Toman’s scholarly essays are included in Feminist Studies, Research in African Literatures, Meridians, The French Review, Northwest Review, Marginalia, French Literature Series, Arab Studies Quarterly, International Journal of the Humanities, Dalhousie French Studies, Women in French Studies, among other publications. She has numerous essays in edited collections on African and Arab women writers, postcolonial theory and on littérature-monde.

Major Grants:

Fulbright Teaching / Research Scholar, Beirut, Lebanon (Spring 2007)

Brown Foundation Fellow (Museum of Fine Arts—Houston) in Ménerbes, France (November 2011)

Study Abroad Programs:

FRCH/WLIT 335: The Paris Experience (Director of Paris programs abroad since 1999)

FRCH 338: The Cameroon Experience

ARAB / WGST / ETHS 349: The Arab World Experience (Jordan)