Tatiana M.F. Cruz

Assistant Professor and Interdisciplinary Program Director of Africana Studies

I am a historian that specializes in Critical Race, Ethnic, Diaspora, and Gender Studies and leader in the field of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB). I joined the Simmons faculty in 2021 and currently am an Assistant Professor and the Interdisciplinary Program Director of Africana Studies and Women's and Gender Studies.

I am also the Founding Co-Director of the North Star Collective, a regional consortium of institutions out of the New England Board of Higher Education committed to racial equity and reparative justice in higher education, particularly focused on restoring, nourishing, and uplifting faculty of color.


  • Ph.D., History, University of Michigan
  • Graduate Certificate, African American and Diasporic Studies, University of Michigan
  • M.A., History, University of Michigan
  • B.A., History & American Studies, Williams College

Research/Creative Activities

My scholarship reflects the intersections of African American, Latinx, urban, and social movement histories, oral history, as well as Critical Race, Ethnic, and Diaspora Studies and Women's and Gender Studies. My research centers on African American and Latinx social movements in the urban north. My work has been published in the Journal of Urban History and the New England Quarterly and I am currently working on a book manuscript which examines African American and Latinx identity, community, and protest in Boston. My work has been supported by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Boston’s College’s African and African Diaspora Studies Program, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, among others.

Tatiana M.F. Cruz in the News

Dr. Jennifer Herman, Professor Tatiana Cruz, Professor Kamille Gentles-Peart, and NEBHE President and CEO Dr. Michael Thomas at the International Women's Day Breakfast and Awards

Navigating the North Star: Assistant Professor Tatiana M.F. Cruz Receives Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Award

The American Council on Education Women’s Network Massachusetts has recognized Tatiana M.F. Cruz, Assistant Professor and Interdisciplinary Program Director of Africana Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies, and her collaborator Dr. Kamille Gentles-Peart (Roger Williams University) for co-founding and directing the North Star Collective, a group of colleges and universities in New England that are committed to faculty racial equity.

Photo of Yunxin Li

Assistant Professor of History Yunxin Li Receives North Star Collective Fellowship

This spring semester, Professor Yunxin Li is participating in the North Star Collective as a Faculty Fellow. The fellowship offers engagement opportunities for BIPOC faculty members from a variety of New England institutions. Li reflects on how the North Star...

African American student in class

Assistant Professor Tatiana Cruz on the Value of Africana Studies for All

Africana Studies at Simmons is celebrating 50 years. Assistant Professor Tatiana Cruz sees it as a perfect complement to any major at Simmons, offering cultural insight that is invaluable for working in diverse communities. Tell us about Africana Studies at...

Simmons students march for women's lives, Washington D.C., March 9, 1986, courtesy of Simmons University Archives

Simmons Celebrates Women’s Equality Day

Since 1971, the United States has recognized Women's Equality Day to commemorate women's right to vote and the anniversary of the 19 th amendment. Simmons University faculty have produced pioneering research on the history of women's struggle for equity. Students...

Mothers and children at the Mothers for Adequate Welfare (MAW) sit-in at the Roxbury Crossing welfare office

"Boston's Welfare Rights Movement" An Interview with Tatiana M.F. Cruz

Below is a conversation with historian Tatiana M.F. Cruz, Assistant Professor of Critical Race, Gender, and Cultural Studies and Interdisciplinary Program Director of Africana Studies at Simmons University. Talking with Taylor Eubanks, graduate student of Gender and Cultural Studies, Professor...

Simmons University Main College Building in the fall

Simmons Faculty Recognized for Innovative Teaching During the Pandemic

Simmons University received a $10,000 Presidential Grant through the Davis Education Foundation to fund a Post-Pandemic Innovative Teaching Award.

Headshots of Tatiana M.F. Cruz, PhD; Traci Griffith, JD; Kat Lombard-Cook, PhD; Nicholl Montgomery, MFA; Farooz Rather, PhD; and Asiel Sepúlveda, PhD

Simmons University’s Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities Welcomes Six New Faculty Members

Cohort of talented faculty helps fulfill commitments to student success and faculty diversity.

Shout-outs from Students and Alums

Reham Zeroual Photo

Merging a Scholarly Stance with Lived Experience

Africana Studies and Political Science double major Reham Zeroual ’24 discusses her engagement with Student Senate, her favorite courses and professors, as well as her experience as a first-generation college student.

Headshots of the 2024 Senior Scholar Award winners

Congratulations to the 2024 Senior Scholars

The annual Senior Scholar Award is sponsored by the Provost's Office and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. The award recognizes six graduating seniors for their outstanding scholarship and contribution to a field of study.

Sunei Clarke ’24

Student Researcher Sunei Clarke ’24 Reflects on Simmons Black Oral History Project

Public Health major and Chemistry minor Sunei Clarke ’24 participated in the Simmons Black Oral History Project, conducting interviews with alumnae/i to document and memorialize the experiences of Black students at Simmons through the generations. Clarke spoke with us about the process of creating oral histories and the value of Africana Studies for all majors.

Photos of the six award winners

Undergraduate Recipients of 2023 Senior Scholar Award

Six seniors across the University have been selected as recipients of the 2023 Senior Scholar Award, in recognition of outstanding scholarship and contribution to a field of study.

Photo of Sara Slager

Sara Slager '23 Researches History of Reproductive Activism in Boston

When Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24, 2022, student Sara Slager — a double major in Education and Women's and Gender Studies — was in the middle of a research project on local reproductive rights activism. She spoke...

Ifill Scholar Kaycee Jackson '23

Ifill Scholar Kaycee Jackson '23 Focuses on Race and Politics

Why did you choose to attend Simmons? I transferred to Simmons from another institution. I was interested in being challenged academically, and when I looked at the courses in the political science program at Simmons, I thought this will help...