Central American Studies

Beatriz Cortez, Ph.D.

Professor Beatriz Cortez
Office location:
Jerome Richfield 254C


Beatriz Cortez is a cultural and literary critic, and a visual artist

Born in El Salvador, Dr. Cortez migrated to the United States in 1989. She obtained a Ph.D. In Latin American Literature from Arizona State University (1999) and an MFA in Art from the California Institute of the Arts (2015). She specializes in contemporary Central American literatures and cultures from interdisciplinary perspectives, the construction of memory, and the imaginaries of the future.

She is the author of Aesthetics of Cynicism: Central American Post War Fiction, published in 2010 by F&G Editores in Guatemala. She is co-editor of the third volume of the series "Towards a History of Central American Literature," titled Perversions of Modernity: Literatures, Modernities, Displacements, published by F&G Editores in 2012. In addition, she co-edited a special issue of Revista Iberoamericana on "Contemporary Central American Cultural Studies," published by the University of Pittsburgh in 2013. She is co-author of the reader Introduction to Central American Studies, published by Kendall Hunt in 2008 and the author of numerous essays on postwar Central American literature and culture.

As an artist, her work explores simultaneity, the existence in different temporalities and different versions of modernity, particularly in relation to memory and loss in the aftermath of war and the experience of immigration, and in relation to imagining possible futures. She has had solo shows at the Vincent Price Art Museum in Los Angeles; Monte Vista Projects in Los Angeles; the Cerritos College Art Gallery in Norwalk, California; the Stamp Gallery at the University of Maryland, College Park; the Grand Central Arts Center in Santa Ana, California; Tractionarts in Los Angeles; and the Museo Municipal Tecleño (MUTE) in El Salvador. Her upcoming exhibitions include Building as Ever, the California Pacific Triennial at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Arts (May 6 - September 3, 2017) and Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas, part of Pacific Standard Time LA/LA 2017 at UCR Artsblock (September 16, 2017 -February 3, 2018).

During 2016-2017 Beatriz Cortez holds the California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists.