Assistant Professor of Church and Society Samuel Cruz, completed his Ph.D at Drew University, Madison, NJ in 2002 under the directorship of internationally renowned Philosopher and Sociologist of Religion, Dr. Otto Maduro. Dr. Cruz also completed the M. Phil from Drew University in 1999. He received the M.A., Magna Cum Laude, from New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, N.J., and is a 1987 graduate of the College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, N.Y.
Dr. Cruz comes to Union from Rutgers, the State University, New Brunswick, N.J., where he has been a lecturer in the Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies Department.
Dr. Cruz’s publications include two books, Masked Africanisms: Puerto Rican Pentecostalism (Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2005) as well as Christianity and Culture in the City: A Post Colonial Approach (Lexington Books, 2013), he is currently working on a book project “Latinas and the LGBT community: Implications for the Church and Beyond. He has published a number of book chapters and journal articles on Latina/o and global Pentecostalism and on the sociology of religion– two principal areas of his research and teaching. He has published columns on civil rights for El Diario la Prensa and The New York Daily News, most recently advocating for civil rights for the LGBT community, humane immigration policies, opposing “Stop and Frisk” police practices and critiquing the prison industrial complex. Dr. Cruz has been recently featured in the Stop and Frisk docu-series: “The Pastor.” He is a frequent guest on MSNBC, Melissa Harris Perry show, frequent contributor to WBAI, and various other media outlets.
Over the last 15 years Dr. Cruz has been conducting ethnographic research on urban and Caribbean Latina/o religion, focusing predominantly on Pentecostalism and African based Caribbean/Latina religions as well as comparative analyses of Latina/o religion and Euro-American religious traditions. His work on Latina/o Pentecostalism has helped bring to the forefront the roles that Latina/o Pentecostal congregations and organizations have had in the development of leadership within Latina/o communities throughout U.S. urban centers. His research also focuses on the intersection of religion and social processes especially the potentiality for liberation among racially, culturally and sexually oppressed groups. Currently Dr. Cruz’ research has focused on Latin@ churches and the inclusion of the LGBTQIQ community.
Dr. Cruz’ interests have led him to study major social theorists of religion, such as Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Foucault, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Patricia Hill Collins, W E B Dubois, Nancy Ammerman, Mary Jo Neitz and others. The study of race, racism, ethnicity, gender and sexuality in the Caribbean and Latin America has been a major focus of his scholarship. He has lectured throughout Central America, the Caribbean and the United States. Dr. Cruz was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He has also served as pastor in several churches in the Metro-NY area and is currently Senior Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He is married to Tania Stanchich and has three daughters, Amber, Jovana and Naome.