Hilary Parsons Dick

Associate Professor, Historical and Political Studies

Easton Hall, Room 337 (215) 572-4035 Contact me via email for office hours; they change each semester.

About Me

Hilary Parsons Dick completed her Ph.D. in cultural and linguistic anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. She investigates Mexico-U.S. migration from the perspectives of discourse analysis; the political economies of language; and gender, class, and ethno-racial relations. She joined Arcadia University in the fall of 2011 after tenures as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago's Center for Latin American Studies and Temple University's Center for the Humanities. She is the 2019-2020 Frank and Evelyn Steinbrucker ‘42 Endowed Chair at Arcadia University. In 2016 she was a Wenner-Gren Hunt Fellow; she was awarded the Hunt Fellowship to support the completion of her first book, Words of Passage: National Longing and the Imagined Lives of Mexican Migrants (May 2018, The University of Texas Press). The book examines how people use talk about migration to critique of the failures of economic development for working-class people who live between Mexico and the United States. Her new research project concerns the criminalization of Mexican migrants and racializing discourses of sovereignty in anti-immigrant ordinances in small Pennsylvania towns. As part of this project, she is currently working on a new book manuscript, provisionally titled Bad Hombres and Angel Moms: Communicating Commonsense Racism in the Time of Trump (under contract, Oxford University Press). Bad Hombres uses the close textual analysis of Donald Trump's rhetoric to examine how immigration policy toward Latin America contributes to processes of racialization in the United States. Dr. Dick teaches courses on globalization, development, and human rights; transnational migration; Latin American cultures, histories, and economies; research methods and writing; crime and punishment; and the relationship between language and politics. Her ethnographic research is located in Guanajuato, Mexico and Pennsylvania. 

Areas Of Focus

Migration, Latin America, Language Practices

English, Spanish


Author 2018

Words of Passage: National Longing and the Imagined Lives of Mexican Migrants

Book, University of Texas Press

Co-Author 2018

From South to North and Back Again: Making and Blurring Boundaries in Conversations across Borders

Article, Language & Communication

Co-Authored with Lynnette Arnold

Author 2017

Una Gabacha Sinvergüenza/A Shameless White Trash Woman: Moral Mobility and Interdiscursivity in a Mexican Migrant Community

Article, American Anthropologist

Co-Author 2017

Narrative in Sociocultural Studies of Language

Article, Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology

Co-Authored with Claudia Segura and Nancy Dennehy

Author 2013

Diaspora and Discourse: The Contrapuntal Lives of Mexican Nonmigrants

Contribution to book, WILEY Blackwell

Author 2012

Self-Deportation as Neoliberal Morality Tale

Article, Anthropology News

Author 2011

Making Immigrants Illegal in Small Town USA

Article, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology

Author 2010

Imagined Lives and Modernist Chronotopes in Mexican Non-Migrant Discourse

Article, American Ethnologist

Research Summary

Below is a full list of my research interests. For your reference, I have also include above a selection of my publications as part of my profile. For more of my publications, please go to my Academia.edu page: http://hilarydick.academia.edu/.

Research Interests--Globalization, transnationalism, and international migration (focus on Mexico-US migration); neoliberalism and political economy; Latin American and Latino/a Studies; discourse analysis; semiotics of social difference; language and power; modernity; development and human rights; the construction of gender, race, class and the production of social inequality; relationship between racialization and criminalization; concepts of personhood and agency; the impact of law on migration processes.