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Department of American Studies College of Arts and Sciences

Denise Cruz

Picture of Denise Cruz

Associate Professor
Department of American Studies
Department of English

Office: Ballantine Hall 442
E-mail: cruzd at


Ph.D., English, UCLA, 2007
M.A., English, UCLA, 2003
B.A., English, UCLA, 1997

Research Interests

  • Filipina/o literature
  • Asian/American literature
  • Ethnic American literature
  • Late 19th to 20th century American literature
  • U.S. imperialism
  • Gender and sexuality studies

Personal Statement

In my published and current research, I use 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). I contend that this combined analytical and archival approach extends our understanding of the importance of national, regional, transnational, and global dynamics in the United States, the Philippines, and Asia. As a feminist scholar, I am especially interested in examining how these interactions have historically impacted and continue to influence constructions of gender and sexuality. My first book, Transpacific Femininities: The Making of the Modern Filipina, 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. I claim 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. While Transpacific Femininities centers on Filipina and Filipino literature and culture, ultimately, the book tracks geopolitical transitions and presents a new way of thinking about gendered productions, space, and constructions of a feminized Asia. I am currently working on two book projects: a study of Philippine fashion and its connections to the Global South, and an analysis of the importance of regions and regionalism to Asian America. Fueled by my research, my courses complicate the geographic, chronological, and disciplinary parameters that shape the study of twentieth and twenty-first century American, ethnic American, Asian American, and Philippine literature and culture.

Courses Recently Taught

  • AMST-A 100 What is America? (Superheroes, Haunted Houses, and Other Amazing Stories: An Introduction to Transnational American Studies)
  • AMST-A 200 Comparative American Identities
  • ENG-L 202 Literary Analysis and Ethnic Studies
  • ENG-L 223 Contemporary Ethnic American Fiction
  • AMST-A 350 Topics in Interdisciplinary American Studies (Topics: From Jackie Chan to FuMan Chu: Love and Fear in American Culture)
  • ENG-L 359 American Literature, 1960s to the Present
  • ENG-L 635 / AMST-G 620 Interdisciplinary Asian American Studies
  • ENG-L 680 Comparative Ethnic and Postcolonial Studies
  • ENG-L 750 Nationalist and Transnational Feminisms in Asian America Fiction

Publication Highlights


Transpacific Femininities: The Making of the Modern Filipina, Duke University Press, 2012.

The Crucible: An Autobiography of 'Colonel Yay,' by Yay Panlilio. Scholarly edition of 1950 text with introduction and textual notes. New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press, 2009.


"Love is Not a Bowl of Quinces: Food, Desire, and the Queer Asian Body in The Book of Salt." Eating Asian America: A Food Studies Reader. Ed. by Robert Ku, Martin Manalansan IV, and Anita Mannur. Forthcoming from New York University Press, Summer 2013.

"Imagining a Transpacific and Feminist Asian American Archive." Invited submission to "Theories and Methods" section on "Practices of the Ethnic Archive." PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association 127, no. 2 (March 2012): 365-370.

"Pointing to the Heart: Transpacific Filipinas and the Question of Cold-War Philippine-US Relations." American Quarterly 63, no. 1 (March 2011): 1-32. Lead essay.

"Jose Garcia Villa's Collection of Others: Irreconcilabilities of a Queer Transpacific Modernism." "Regional Modernisms," special issue of MFS: Modern Fiction Studies 55, no.1 (Spring 2009): 11-41.

"Reconsidering McTeague’s 'Mark’ and 'Mac': The intersections of U.S. Naturalism, Imperial Masculinities, and Desire Between Men." American Literature 78, no. 3 (September 2006): 487-517.

Edited Works:

"Empire, Independence, and Self-Definition: Voices from the Philippines." The Heath Anthology of American Literature. 7th edition. Volume C, Late Nineteenth Century: 1865-1910. Forthcoming.

"A Sheaf of Early Filipino and Filipina Writers." The Heath Anthology of American Literature. 6th edition. Volume C, Late Nineteenth Century: 1865-1910 (Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2010): 585-608.

"Bienvenido N. Santos." The Heath Anthology of American Literature. 6th edition. Volume E, Contemporary Period: 1945 to the Present (Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2010): 2320-2326.

Selected Presentations:

"Transpacific Femininities, Multimedia Archives, and the Global Market." Accepted paper. Between Islands and Empires: Hemispheric Legacies of Cultural Labor in the Pacific and the Caribbean. Annual Meeting of the American Studies Association. San Juan, Puerto Rico. November 2012.

Cartographies of the Transpacific Filipina." Cartographies of Gender: Re(vision) and Resistance in Cultural Formations. Annual meeting of the Association of Asian American Studies. Washington, D.C. April 2012.

"The Rural and the Global: the Queer South of Monique Truong's Bitter in the Mouth." Asian American Regionalisms; panel organized by the Asian American division for the Annual Meeting of the Modern Language Association. Seattle. January 2012.

"A Transpacific, Feminist Archive: New Filipinas of the Pacific War." Feminist Analytics and New Questions in Asian American Literature. Annual meeting of the Association of Asian American Studies. New Orleans. May 2011.

"The New Order Filipina's 'Practical Patriotism': A Transpacific Archive." Occupational Hazards: U.S. and Japanese Empires and the Politics of Asian/American Literary Studies. Annual Meeting of the Modern Language Association. Los Angeles. January 2011.

"Queering Asian and American Transnationalisms: 'Gertrude Stein, love is not a bowl of quinces.' " Reforming Queer Asian / American Subjects: Transnational Negotiations, Literary Experiments. Annual Meeting of the Modern Language Association. San Francisco. December 2008.

"The Intimacies of Queer Transnationalism in Monique Truong's The Book of Salt." Bodies Without Borders: Intimate Knowledges, Public Embodiments, and the Transglobal American Crossroads. American Studies Association Annual Meeting. Albuquerque, New Mexico. October 2008.

"Jose Garcia Villa's Collection of 'Others': Imagined Forms of Transregional Modernism." Asian America's Narratives of Discontent. International Conference on Narrative. University of Texas at Austin. May 2008.

Selected Honors and Awards

  • New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities, Exploratory Travel Grant, 2012
  • College of Arts and Humanities Institute, Indiana University, Research Travel Grant, 2012
  • Ford Foundation Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2009-2010
  • New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities, Major Funding, Indiana University, 2009
  • Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award, 2009
  • College of Arts and Humanities Institute, Indiana University, Research Grant, 2009
  • College of Arts and Humanities Institute, Indiana University, Research Travel Grant, 2008
  • Ford Foundation Diversity Dissertation Fellowship, 2006
  • Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, 2003-2006
  • Foreign Language Area Studies Grant (Tagalog), 2004