Trained in Czechoslovakia, Germany and USA, Jindrich Toman follows an academic path defined by languages and cultures of Central Europe. In the 1980s and 1990s he focused on generative linguistics, with special emphasis on Czech and German (Wortsyntax: Eine Diskussion ausgewählter Probleme deutscher Wortbildung, 1983), as well as on the history of linguistics (The Magic of a Common Language: Mathesius, Jakobson, Trubetzkoy and the Prague Linguistic Circle, 1995). His recent research has been situated at the interfaces of cultural history and visual culture, with topics including modernist book design (Czech Cubism and the Book, 2004; Photo/Montage in Print, 2009). A concurrent project is a monograph in preparation on Jewish culture in Bohemia. He has also co-curated several exhibitions, including Jindrich Heisler: Surrealism Under Pressure (Art Institute of Chicago, 2012).
Professor Toman teaches undergraduate courses in the area of literary and cultural studies, including the First Year Seminar “Prague: The Magic City” (Slavic 151), “Arts and Cultures of Central Europe” (Slavic 225), “Modern Czech Literature” (Czech 484) and “Avant-gardes East and West” (Slavic 470). He served as departmental chair through 1995-2004.