Central American Studies

Beatriz Cortez, Ph.D.

Professor Beatriz Cortez
Office location:
Jerome Richfield 254C


Dr. Beatriz Cortez is Professor of Central American Studies at California State University, Northridge. She is a cultural and literary critic, and an artist.

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 specializes in contemporary Central American literatures and cultures from the perspective of gender, identity, and cultural studies. She is the author of numerous 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. She is co-author of the reader Introduction to Central American Studies, published by Kendall Hunt in 2008. She is co-editor of the third volume of the collection "Towards the History of Central American Literature" titled Per-Versions of Modernity: Literatures, Identities, and Displacements, published by F&G Editors in Guatemala in 2012 . She co-edited a special issue of Revista Iberoamericana on Contemporary Central American Literature and Cultural Studies, published by the University of Pittsburgh in 2013. 

As an artist, Beatriz Cortez explores the human condition at the intersection of issues such as war and immigration, where race, class, ethnicity, and culture contribute to the complex portrayal of human experience. She has had solo shows at the Grand Central Arts Center in Santa Ana, CA, at Tractionarts in Los Angeles, at the Museo Municipal Tecleño (MUTE) in El Salvador, at the Los Angeles Theater Center, among others. She has participated in group shows at the California State University, Northridge galleries, and the SOMARTS Cultural Center in San Francisco, among others. She holds a Master of Arts in Studio Art from California State University, Northridge (2013) and is currently working towards her Master of Fine Arts at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA. To visit her artist website click on the following link: Http://www.beatrizcortez.com/

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. She has served as advisor for the Central American United Student Association (CAUSA), is a board member for the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) in Los Angeles. She has been an active contributor to national and international academic efforts to further develop the discipline of Central American Studies while servig 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).

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.