Denise Cruz

Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature

Columbia University

Professor Cruz uses spatial and geographic formations (from the transpacific, to the regional, to the Global South) to examine previously unstudied archives (from the first works of English literature by Filipina and Filipino authors, to private papers that document connections between the Midwest and U. S. empire, to fashion shows in Manila). She contends that this combined analytical and archival approach extends our understanding of the importance of national, regional, transnational, and global dynamics in North America, the Philippines, and Asia. As a feminist scholar, she is especially interested in examining how these interactions have historically impacted and continue to influence constructions of gender and sexuality. Her first book, Transpacific Femininities: the Making of the Modern Filipina received an honorable mention for the best book in Literary Studies (Association for Asian American Studies). Transpacific Femininities analyzed connections between the rise of Philippine print culture in English and the emergence of new classes of transpacific women from the early to the mid- twentieth century. The book argues that this period was dominated by a fascination with transpacific Asian women—figures who were connected to both nationalist movements in Asia and the global women's suffrage movement.

A Ford Foundation predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellow, she is the editor of Yay Panlilio’s The Crucible: The Autobiography of Colonel Yay, Filipina American Guerrilla and has published essays in American Literature, American Quarterly, American Literary History, PMLA, the Journal of Asian American Studies, Modern Fiction Studies, and several edited collections. Professor Cruz is currently working on two book projects: a study of Philippine fashion and its connections to the Global South (funded by a multi-year Insight Grant from Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council), and an analysis of the importance of regions and regionalism to Asian America. Before arriving at Columbia, she taught in the departments of English at the University of Toronto and English and American Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. Fueled by her research, her courses complicate the geographic, chronological, and disciplinary parameters that shape the study of gender, sexuality, and the global in twentieth and twenty-first century American, Asian North American, ethnic American, and Philippine literature and culture. You can find out more about her research and teaching at