Cheryl TOMAN

Cheryl Toman is a specialist in African francophone women’s literature and a full professor of French at the University of Alabama. Between 2003 and 2020, she was Director of the Feminist Studies Program and Ruth Mulhauser Professor at Case Western Reserve University (USA). She is currently working on a monographic study of Malian women authors after publishing two books, Women Writers of Gabon (2016) and Contemporary Matriarchies in Cameroonian Women’s Writing (2008). Her essays can be found in over fifty journals and critical works. She is a two-time Fulbright scholar and in 2011 was a scholar-in-residence at the Maison Dora Maar in Ménerbes, France for her book project on Gabonese women novelists. She was named "Officer" of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques in 2020.

Research project

Women’s writing and wassoulou in Mali: voices in the fight against violence against women

Sociologist Tanella Boni analyzes violence against African women by identifying multiple perpetrators: colonialism, tradition, men, and sometimes women themselves (2008). In Mali, women’s writing and the musical genre known as wassoulou are the tools that some uninitiated Malian women use to express themselves against the injustices they suffer. I am currently writing a book that is a comparative study of women’s literature and wassoulou in Mali. I propose as a research project to work specifically on this book and more specifically on a chapter and parts of chapters that focus on texts and lyrics of wassoulou songs that address political conflicts and attacks in Mali. These texts denounce all forms of violence against women while emphasizing that men and women experience conflict and its associated violence differently.