Dr. Beatriz Cortez is Professor in the Central American Studies Program and director of the Central American Research and Policy Institute (CARPI) at California State University, Northridge.
Born in El Salvador, Dr. Cortez migrated to the United States in November 1989. She obtained a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature from Arizona State University (1999). She specialized in contemporary Central American literatures and cultures from the perspective of gender, identity, and cultural studies. She is the author of a number of articles on postwar Central American literature and culture, exile, the construction of identity and gender. She has also translated a number of literary and academic texts from Spanish into English. Her book, Aesthetics of Cynicism: Post-War Central American Fiction, was published in July 2010 by F&G Editores in Guatemala.
Prior to her arrival at California State University, Northridge in August, 2000, Dr. Cortez was Assistant Professor of Central American Literature at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Dr. Cortez is an active member of the Central American community, both in the Isthmus and in the United States. At California State University, Northridge she serves as the advisor for the Central American United Student Association (CAUSA). In Southern California she holds close ties to the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), where she has been a member of the Arts and Culture committee. She also has been an active contributor to national and international academic efforts to further develop the discipline of Central American Studies while serving as elected Co-Chair of the Central American Section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), and as organizer of innovative transnational forums for the exchange of academic work such as the I International Congress on Central American Literature (Tempe, Arizona, 1999); the II International Congress on Central American Literature (Northridge, California, 2001); the I Central American Film Festival (Northridge, California, 2004); the III International Congress on Central American Literature and Culture (Northridge, California, 2004); the I Congress on Central American Cultural Studies (San Salvador, El Salvador, October, 2007), and the III Congress on Central American Cultural Studies (Northridge, California, 2011).
She believes in the transformation of a community through education and daily work with the students. At the same time, she is convinced that education does not only take place in the classroom but also outside the university. She advocates for service learning projects and community applied learning.
Dr. Cortez has been a pioneer in her field through her participation in the development of the emergent discipline of Central American studies, as well as through her leadership role in the design, approval and implementation of the first Bachelor of Arts in Central American Studies. Dr. Cortez began developing this program in collaboration with her colleagues in 2004, achieved the goal of obtaining approval for this program in February, 2007, and reached the historic moment when this interdisciplinary degree program was inaugurated at California State University, Northridge in August, 2007.
Prior to her arrival at California State University, Northridge in August 2000, Dr. Cortez was Assistant Professor of Central American Literature at Wayne State University in Detroit.