Jean-Luc Robin


Dr. Toman’s area of research is African women’s writing with a special emphasis on authors from Gabon, Cameroon, and Mali. She also has a secondary interest in women in the Arab world, specifically of the Middle East.

Her most recent book, Women Writers of Gabon: Literature and Herstory (Lexington Books, 2016) is the first book-length study in English of Gabonese literature. The study discusses the perceived “invisibility” of women writers and focuses on the major contributions of Gabon’s first generation of female authors.

Dr. 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 current book project is a comparative analysis between Malian women’s writing and Wassoulou music. She continues to research and publish on women writers of Gabon, both the first and second generation of women writers.

Dr. Toman’s new edited collection, Bilinguisme, Multilinguisme: Mythes et Réalités will be published in March 2023 with the Presses Universitaires de Montréal. The book was the recipient of the Langue en Dialogue Prize from the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

Selected Honors and Awards

  • 2022-2023:  U.S.–ASEAN University Connections Initiative Fellow
  • Nov.-Dec. 2021:  Chaire Genre 2021 du Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique Institut du Genre / MSH Paris Nord / CNRS, Centre Interdisciplinaire d’Études des Littératures d’Aix-Marseille
  • January 2020: Named Officier in France’s Ordre des Palmes Académiques
  • October-November 2019: Awarded an International Education Adminstrator’s Fulbright to Germany
  • December 2016: Named president of the Biennale de la Langue Française, being the first American and the first woman to hold this honor within the 55-year-old professional organization which unites scholars and experts of the French-speaking world.
  • November 2011: Fellow at the Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, France with a Brown Foundation Fellowship.
  • 2007: Teaching / Research Fulbright to Lebanon in Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies at Lebanese American University in Beirut.

Selected Publications

Single-Authored Books

  • Women Writers of Gabon: Literature and Herstory (Lexington, 2016)
  • Contemporary Matriarchies in Cameroonian Francophone Literature (Summa, 2008)

Edited Volumes and Collections

  • Guest editor for special issue on African Women Writers of Central Africa, Women in French Studies, (2020)
  • Capital Culture (La Doxa, 2019)
  • Defying the Global Language (Teneo, 2013)
  • Guest-editor of issue on women, war, and conflict for Women’s Studies International Forum (2009)
  • Guest-editor for volume on women, activism, and the arts for Al-Raida, the journal of The Institute for Women’s Studies of the Arab World (2009)
  • On Evelyne Accad: Essays in Literature, Feminism, and Cultural Studies (2007) prefaced by Nawal El Saadawi.

Major Translations

  • Justine Mintsa’s Awu’s Story, University of Nebraska Press (2018)
  • Thérèse Kuoh-Moukoury’s Essential Encounters, MLA Texts and Translations Series (2002)
  • Noureddine Aba’s It Was Yesterday Sabra and Chatila with E. Accad, L’Harmattan (2004)

Co-Authored Books

  • BITO: Women’s Museum, Therese Kuoh-Moukoury (author), Cheryl Toman (co-author and trans.) and Nicolas Eyidi (photographs), La Doxa Editions (2020)
  • The Fury and Cries of Women, Angèle Rawiri (novel), Sara Hanaburgh (trans.) and Cheryl Toman (critical afterword), University of Virginia Press (2014)

Selected Recent Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • “The Anglophone Problem as Seen through the Eyes of Some of Cameroon’s Most Prominent Veteran and Emerging Scholars.” Journal of the African Literature Association, 14:2 (2020), 173-179.
  • “Marie-Claire Matip and Thérèse Kuoh-Moukoury as (In)Visible Pioneers: Early Works by Women Writers and the Struggle for Inclusion in Cameroon’s National Educational Program.” Women in French Studies, 27 (2019), 143-158.
  • “The Impact of African Feminisms and Performance in Conflict Zones: Werewere Liking in Cote-d’Ivoire and Mali.” Feminist Studies, 41:1 (2015), 72-87.
  • “Fang Culture in Gabonese Women’s Writing: Reading Histoire d’Awu by Justine Mintsa.” Research in African Literatures. 41:2 (Summer 2010). 121-132.