photo of Lizbeth looking at camera

Congratulations Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana! School of Criticism and Theory 2022 Fellowship Recipient

Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana is a public scholar and doctoral candidate at the Spanish and Portuguese Department at the University of California Davis.  Her doctoral degree is in Latin American Literatures and Cultures with a designated emphasis on Human Rights. Her area of research and teaching interests focus on diaspora studies, digital storytelling, testimonial literature, and 20th and 21st Century Mexican, Mexican-American, and Chicano/a Literature and Culture.


De La Cruz’s first book manuscript draws from her doctoral dissertation. It centers on US childhood arrivals and intends to draw attention to a range of ethical-oriented concerns regarding the legal treatment of this group. Specifically, she focuses on the illegalization of a generation of immigrants raised in the country vulnerable to deportation and who have faced deportation. In her contribution, she coins the Childhood Arrivals Critical Theory (CACrit) framework, the Childhood Arrivals Diaspora, and introduces a more general definition of this group.

Her activist-oriented public scholarship includes the Playas de Tijuana Mural Project, an interactive mural on the Mexican side of the westernmost point of the US-Mexico border, which documents the stories and portraits of (deported) US childhood arrivals. Other digital humanities
projects include the Leave No One Behind Mural project and DACAmented: DREAMs Without Borders digital storytelling project.