Born and raised in Cabo rojo, Puerto Rico, Maria Acosta Cruz received a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1980 and 1984, respectively. She teaches all levels of Spanish Language and literiture. Her main research and teaching interests are Caribbean and Latino cultures. She explores issues such as the making and marketability of identities, Puerto Rican cultural history, and national and gender-based stereotypes. Her book Dream Nation: Puerto Rican Culture & the Fictions of Independence (Rutgers University Press 2014 is also part of the American Literatures Initiative from NYU, Fordham, Temple and Virginia University Presses). The series has funding from Mellon Foundation. She has been at Clark since 1986 and is affiliated with the programs in Women's and Gender Studies and Race and Ethnic Relations.
Current Research and Teaching
Professor Acosta Cruz specializes in contemporary Latino and Latin American literature and culture, particularly the Hispanic Caribbean islands, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her work focuses on issues around gender, identity, and history. Her special areas of research and teaching include Caribbean fiction, Latino literature in the United States and women's writing. With a degree in Comparative Literature, she has a special interest in issues related to ethnic studies and Hispanic women.
"Esmeralda Santiago in the Marketplace of Identity Politics." CENTRO: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies; Hunter College, CUNY. XVII.1 (Fall 2006): 170-187.
"Estereotipos transnacionales: Esmeralda Santiago y John Leguizamo" in: Literatura y otras artes en América Latina. Actas of the XXXIV Congress of the Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana. University of Iowa. 2004. pp: 111-117.
"El regreso al Caribede Severo Sarduy." Hispanófila. 113, no. 2 (Enero 1995): 69-80.
"Historia y escritura femenina en Olga Nolla, Magali García Ramis, Rosario Ferré y Ana Lydia Vega." Revista Iberoamericana , vol. LIX, nos. 162-63 (Enero-Junio 1993): 265-77.
"Para que no sean adversarios. Una lectura feminista de Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá." Confluencia Revista de Literatura Hispánica , vol. 7, no. 1 (Fall Issue 1991): 43-53.
"Severo Sarduy y el juego contrareferencial de aporías." Revista de Estudios Hispánicos , Puerto Rico (1990-91): 291-300.
"Historia, ser e identidad femenina en 'Maldito amor' y 'el collar de camándulas' de Rosario Ferre." Chasqui Revista de Literatura Latinoamerican , vol. 19, no. 2 (November 1990): 23-31.