Denise Cruz

Scholar of gender & sexuality in 
national and transnational cultures


Transpacific Femininities: The Making of the Modern Filipina

Transpacific FeminitiesFrom the Duke University Press Website: In this groundbreaking study, Denise Cruz investigates the importance of the figure she terms the “transpacific Filipina” to Philippine nationalism, women’s suffrage, and constructions of modernity. Her analysis illuminates connections between the rise in the number of Philippine works produced in English and the emergence of new social classes of transpacific women during the early to mid-twentieth century.

Through a careful study of multiple texts produced by Filipina and Filipino writers in the Philippines and the United States—including novels and short stories, newspaper and magazine articles, conduct manuals, and editorial cartoons—Cruz provides a new archive and fresh perspectives for understanding Philippine literature and culture. She demonstrates that the modern Filipina did not emerge as a simple byproduct of American and Spanish colonial regimes, but rather was the result of political, economic, and cultural interactions among the Philippines, Spain, the United States, and Japan. Cruz shows how the complex interplay of feminism, nationalism, empire, and modernity helped to shape, and were shaped by, conceptions of the transpacific Filipina.

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The Crucible: An Autobiography of Colonel Yay, Filipina American Guerilla

The CrucibleFrom the Rutgers University Press website: On December 8, 1941, as the Pacific War reached the Philippines, Yay Panlilio, a Filipina-Irish American, faced a question with no easy answer: How could she contribute to the war?

In this 1950 memoir, The Crucible: An Autobiography by Colonel Yay, Filipina American Guerrilla, Panlilio narrates her experience as a journalist, triple agent, leader in the Philippine resistance against the Japanese, and lover of the guerrilla general Marcos V. Augustin. From the war-torn streets of Japanese-occupied Manila, to battlegrounds in the countryside, and the rural farmlands of central California, Panlilio blends wry commentary, rigorous journalistic detail, and popular romance.

Weaving together appearances by Douglas MacArthur and Carlos Romulo with dangerous espionage networks, this work provides an insightful perspective on the war. The Crucible invites readers to see new intersections in Filipina/o, Asian American, and American literature studies, and Denise Cruz’s introduction imparts key biographical, historical, and cultural contexts to that purpose.

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Selected Articles and Chapters

“Splitting the Seams: Transnational Feminism and the Toronto-Manila Production of Filipina Couture.” Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia, ed. by Sharon Heijin Lee, Cristina Moon, and Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu. New York: New York University Press, 2019.

“Archival Performances: Collaborative Theatre and Approaches to Indigenous History”  American Literary History 29, no. 2 (2017): 396-417.

“Global Mess and Glamour: Behind the Spectacle of Transnational Fashion.”
Journal of Asian American Studies 19, no. 2 (June 2016): 143-167.

“The Case of Felicidad Ocampo: A Palimpsest of Transpacific Feminism.”
Filipino Studies: Palimpsests of Nation and Diaspora
. Ed. by Martin Manalansan and Augusto Espiritu. New York: New York University Press, 2016. 274-296.  

“Transpacific Modernisms.”
The Cambridge Companion to the American Modernist Novel. Ed. Joshua L. Miller. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 35-51. 

“Filipino and Filipina Voices.”
The Cambridge History of Asian American Literature. Ed. Rajini Srikanth and Min Hou Song. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 139-154. 

“America’s Empire and the Asia-Pacific: Constructing Hawai’i and the Philippines.”
Coauthored with Erin Suzuki (Emory University). 
The Cambridge Companion to Asian-American Literature. Ed. by Daniel Y. Kim and Crystal Parikh. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 16-28. 

“Monique Truong’s Literary South and the Regional Forms of Asian America.”
American Literary History 26, no. 4 (2014): 716-741. 

“Love is Not a Bowl of Quinces: Food, Desire, and the Queer Asian Body in The Book of Salt.”
Eating Asian America: A Food Studies Reader. Ed. by Robert Ku, Martin Manalansan IV, and Anita Mannur. New York: NYU Press, 2013. 354-371. 

“Imagining a Transpacific and Feminist Asian American Archive.”
Invited submission to “Theories and Methods” section on “Practices of the Ethnic Archive.” PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association 127, no. 2 (March 2012): 365-370. 

“Pointing to the Heart: Transpacific Filipinas and the Question of Cold-War Philippine-U.S. Relations.”
American Quarterly 63, no. 1 (March 2011): 1-32. Lead essay. 

“Jose Garcia Villa’s Collection of Others: Irreconcilabilities of a Queer Transpacific Modernism.”
“Regional Modernisms,” special issue of MFS: Modern Fiction Studies 55, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 11-41. 

“Reconsidering McTeague’s ‘Mark’ and ‘Mac’: The intersections of U.S. Naturalism, Imperial Masculinities, and Desire Between Men.”
American Literature 78, no. 3 (September 2006): 487-517.