World Bank, Washington, DC, assistant to the senior economist, 1979-82; Columbia University, New York, NY, assistant professor, 1995-2002, director of Institute for Latin American and Iberian Studies, 1997-98; Tufts University, Medford, MA, assistant professor, 2002-05, associate professor of political science, 2005—. Central American Business Institute, teaching scholar, 2007. Consultant, World Bank, 1985-86, 2007.
Center for International Studies fellow, Princeton University, 1994-95, 1998-99; Humanities and Social Sciences Council Award, Columbia University, 1997; Unite Award, Tufts University, 2003-04, for excellence in teaching and advising; Outstanding Academic Title, Choice, 2006, for Political Culture and Institutional Development in Costa Rica and Nicaragua; FRAC fellowship, Tufts University, 2004, 2007.
Contributor to books, including Post-Stabilization Politics in Latin America: Competition, Transition, Collapse, edited by Riordan Roett and Carol Wise, Johns Hopkins University Press/Brookings Institution, 2003; Authoritarian Legacies and Democratization in Latin American and Southern Europe, edited by Katherine Hite and Paola Cesarini, Notre Dame Press, 2004; and The Third Wave of Democratization in Latin America: Advances and Setbacks, edited by Frances Hagopian and Scott Mainwaring, Cambridge University Press, 2005. Contributor to professional journals, including Political Science Quarterly, World Politics, Perspectives on Politics, Journal of Democracy, Comparative Politics, and Latin American Research Review; contributor to periodicals, including the Washington Post, Zaman (Turkey), and the New Republic. Columnist for Confidencial, 1997.
Consuelo Cruz is a political science professor interested in Latin American politics. She is a contributor to professional journals as well as mainstream newspapers and magazines, and her first book publication is Political Culture and Institutional Development in Costa Rica and Nicaragua: World-Making in the Tropics. In this work, the author asks why two small Central American countries, both of which were former Spanish colonies, followed such different political courses. Nicaragua has been plagued with political unrest, internal wars, regime change, and social injustice, while Costa Rica has, for the most part, enjoyed a just, democratic, and prosperous history that is the envy of the region. Focusing on the rhetoric of political elites in both countries, Cruz goes back as far as the 1600s to analyze how colonial leaders planted the seeds for the future. In Costa Rica, the Spaniards worked to incorporate native peoples into a common mission of supporting the common good through hard work and Christian attitudes; colonists attempted to persuade, rather than force, local peoples to integrate with the Spanish culture. In Nicaragua, the colonial perspective was one of privilege in which the native peoples were seen as beneficiaries of the good graces of the crown. James Mahoney, writing in the Journal of Latin American Studies, explained that according to Cruz, "elites in Costa Rica consolidated a national identity that portrayed Costa Ricans as peaceful, civil, diligent and distinct from the rest of the hostile region. With such a culture, the idea of creating a fair electoral regime seemed quite logical. In Nicaragua, by contrast, no stable national identity of a harmonious and naturally peaceful people was produced in the nineteenth century."
In his critical assessment of Political Culture and Institutional Development in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Mahoney noted appreciatively how Cruz draws on interviews with political leaders and from rarely-cited local publications in her research. While considering the author's focus on "elite discourse" unique, the critic faulted the book for not delving more deeply into other factors that might explain the countries' differing political courses. "The book says little about differences among the countries that concern their socioeconomic conditions and the organisation of their state apparatuses," commented Mahoney. The reviewer further commented that Cruz's book will prove more comprehensible to experts in the field than to students. Political Science Quarterly contributor Bruce M. Wilson commented that "some of the evidence dealing with the most recent developments appears somewhat dated and is less compelling than the earlier sections of the book." However, Wilson concluded that "this well-researched and well-argued book is an important addition to the literature on economic and political development."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, October, 2006, Dario A. Euraque, review of Political Culture and Institutional Development in Costa Rica and Nicaragua: World-Making in the Tropics, p. 1232.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, June, 2006, E.A. Duff, review of Political Culture and Institutional Development in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, p. 1896.
Hispanic American Historical Review, August, 2007, Marc Edelman, review of Political Culture and Institutional Development in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, p. 605.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, spring, 2007, Timothy E. Anna, review of Political Culture Institutional Development in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Journal of Latin American Studies, November, 2006, James Mahoney, review of Political Culture and Institutional Development in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, p. 869.
Political Science Quarterly, fall, 2006, Bruce M. Wilson, review of Political Culture and Institutional Development in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Tufts University Department of Arts, Sciences and Engineering Web site,http://tufts.edu/ (March 28, 2008), faculty profile.