Frank Eugene Cruz

Frank Eugene Cruz

PhD Candidate, R&C Instructor
Cafe Milano
Mon 12:30-1:30 & Thurs 10:30 - 11:30


Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

Cruz, Frank. "Let Them Eat Code (Or, Silicon Valley Goes to Hollywood)." Tiny Mix Tapes. 5 Nov. 2015. Web. <>.

Cruz, Frank Eugene. ""In Between a Past and Future Town": Home, The Unhomely, and The Grapes of Wrath." Reprint. The Grapes of Wrath: A Re-Consideration, edited by Michael J. Meyer, Rodophi, vol. 1, 2009.

---. ""In Between a Past and Future Town": Home, The Unhomely, and The Grapes of Wrath." Steinbeck Review 4.2 (2007): 52-75. Project MUSE. <>.



Current Research

My dissertation, “Steinbeck’s America: Ideological Crisis and Popular Culture,” shows how John Steinbeck’s representations of the Dust Bowl during the 1930s grappled with various forms of U.S.-American ideological crisis (racial, political, economic, and ecological) and demonstrates how this Dust Bowl cultural formation has impacted the representation of crisis in contemporary popular culture. This study produces a new understanding of the unique position Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939) occupies in the U.S. cultural imaginary and, in doing so, reclaims contemporary popular culture as a potential site of resistance and political possibility for the new millennium.

In addition to my dissertation research, I am also developing a secondary project, which is tentatively titled "Mad Men: Masculinity, the American Dream, and the Myth of Starting Over from Horatio Alger to Jay-Z." This project considers the roots and routes of the American Dream and the figure of the “self-made man” in the American cultural imagination over the past 150 years. From American literature to contemporary politics to popular culture, I am interested in exploring American fascination with the idea of “starting over.” This project will consider Horatio Alger’s Gilded Age and his impoverished hero’s rise to respectability, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s mysterious icon of the Jazz Age, Jay Gatsby, and William Faulkner’s tale of the monomaniacal Thomas Sutpen, whose ghostly design speaks from the Antebellum South to the first decades of the 20th century. From Faulkner’s high modernist polytemporality, this project tracks the American Dream to the end of the 20th century (and into popular culture and the 21st century) via Barack Obama’s journey from a bi-racial “broken home” in Hawai'i to the Oval Office, Dick Whitman’s rebirth as Don Draper on a battlefield during the Korean War in Matthew Weiner’s 2007 TV show Mad Men, and Jay-Z’s meteoric rise from a hustler in Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects to the “God of Rap” who surveys his pop culture empire from high atop the Forbes’ List. While I am self-consciously framing this project in relation to the problem of “American masculinity,” this project will also explore problems of race, homosociality, war, class, and class mobility.

Recent English Courses Taught