Faculty Directory

Cynthia Cruz
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Education Department
  • Affiliations Feminist Studies Department, Latin American & Latino Studies, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • McHenry Library, 3167
    • McHenry Library, rm 3167
  • Office Hours Wednesdays 12-2 and by appointment
  • Mail Stop Education Department
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise LGBT+, Diversity, Teacher Education, Ethnography, Social Justice
  • Courses Educ 256 Advanced Qualitative Analysis; Educ 135 Gender and Education; Educ 181 Race, Class, Culture in Education; Educ 207 Social and Cultural Foundations of Education; Educ 254 Critical and Alternative Epistemologies in Educational Research; Educ 173 Critical Pedagogy; Educ 295 Critical Theory and Education

Summary of Expertise

Homeless youth


Critical ethnography

Social and cultural analysis

Cultural Studies and Education

Foundations of Education

Feminist Methodologies

Interviewing Youth

U.S. Third World Feminist Pedagogies

Research Interests

U.S. Third World and Decolonial Feminisms
Schools and LGBTQ youth
Digital Queer Youth
Homeless youth
Youth and Violence
Latinos in the Education Pipeline
Violence against LGBTQ Communities

Biography, Education and Training

My research focuses on youth resistance, pedagogy, and testimonial narratives in urban educational spaces, with particular attention paid to the life experiences of LGBTQ street youth. I am also engaged in the conversation of how we represent youth of color in educational research, where deficit and other culture of poverty models often divest youth and their communities of agency or naturalize discourses of criminalization and poverty. It is through ethnography where I am able to engage and extend the work of US third world feminists in the spaces where multiple, oppositional and the often contradictory experiences of LGBTQ street youth intersect and overlap, where it is not a singular experience with race or homophobia that young people are experiencing, but often an interlocking and intersecting system of power that defines their reality. Much of my research focuses on these intersections, and is my attempt to theorize the often violent experiences of simultaneous, differential oppressions in pedagogical and curricular research and in my rethinking of resistance and agency.

My new project looks at violence in and outside of the schoolyard for LGBTQI youth. I am also interested in the acquisition of digital literacies with street youth and other non-dominant youth communities and developing feminist models of coalition with pre-service teacher credential students.

Honors, Awards and Grants

2018 The Golden Apple Award, Social Sciences Division

2012 Antonia I. Castaneda Prize, National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies (Best New Article)

2012 Article of the Year, Queer Studies Special Interest Group, AERA

Cornell University Provost’s Academic Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2006-2008

Selected Presentations

National Summit on 2SLGBTQ Curriculum: Participant, RISE Summit on 2SLGBTQ-Inclusive Teacher Education, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2019.

School of Education Colloquium Presentation: Thinking Infrapolitics in the Lives of Queer Street Youth. Colloquium Lecture for the Graduate School of Education, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 2019.

George Jones & Velma Rife Jones Endowed Lecture : Against Deficit: The Resistance Socialities of LGBTQ Homeless Youth. Talk at the College of Education, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 2019.

Invited Talk: Thinking Youth Infrapolitics. Latinx Research Center, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA. 2019.

Invited Talk: Thinking with Queer and Trans-Youth about Resistant Socialities and the Infrapolitics of the Street, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University. 2018.

Paper Presentation: Bridge as a Primer: A Decolonial Feminist Politics of Being “With You.” Toward Decolonial Feminisms: A Conference Inspired by the Work of Maria Lugones, Penn State University, State College, PA. 2018.

Presidential Symposium: Thinking Plurality and Pedagogy with the “World”-Traveling of Queer Youth of Color. AERA, New York City, 2018.

Symposium: The Digital Practices of Mobility, Safety and Surveillance of Queer Street Youth. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC. 2017.

Colgate University Annual Race and Education Lecture: Notes Toward A Pedagogy of This Bridge Called My Back, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY. 2016.

Paper Presentation: LGBTQ Youth Talk Back: Thinking about Resistance in Tight Spaces, National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA., 2015.

Paper Presentation: Moving U.S. Third World Feminism Forward: The Struggle of New Teachers in a Pedagogy of Coalition. American Educational Studies Association Annual Meeting, Toronto, CA, November 2, 2014.

Roundtable Discussion: Continuing the conversation: Doing LGBTQI and ally work in the Ph.D. program and beyond. Invited Talk at the American Educational Research Association Meeting Graduate Student Council Chair Fireside Chat, April 28, San Francisco, CA. 

Teaching Interests

Qualitative Methodologies

Emancipatory Pedagogies

Resistance Theory

School-to-Prison Pipelines

Latinos and Education

LGBTQ issues in Schools

Feminist of Color and Decolonial Methodologies

Race and Social Inequality

Social and Cultural Theory in Education