Hilary Parsons Dick

Associate Professor of International Studies, 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 is an Associate Professor of International Studies at Arcadia University; she was the 2019-2021 Frank and Evelyn Steinbrucker ‘42 Endowed Chair for her project The Social Life of Immigration Law. She completed her Ph.D. in cultural and linguistic anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Dick investigates migration and displacement between Central America, Mexico, and the United States from the perspectives of discourse analysis; the political economies of language; and gender, class, and ethno-racial inequity. She joined Arcadia in fall 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. In 2016, she was awarded the Wenner-Gren Hunt Fellowship to support the completion of her first book, Words of Passage: National Longing and the Imagined Lives of Mexican Migrants (The University of Texas Press), which was recognized by the Society for Linguistic Anthropology as a Distinguished Book in Linguistic Anthropology (2017-2018). 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 entails a two-pronged engagement with US immigration law. One engagement is her second book (under contract, Oxford University Press), which examines how the juridical and vernacular construction of "asylum seekers" in the US functions as racializing and gendering practices that marginalize and dehumanize migrants from the Global South. The other engagement is a long-term ethnographic research project examining how migrants and their legal advocates work collaboratively to resist this gendered racialization and gain legal recognition for migrants.

Areas Of Focus

Migration, Latin America, Language Practices

English, Spanish


Author 2020

Racializing Discourses of Illegality: Mexican & Central American Migration in the Time of Trump

Article, Oxford University Press (Oxford Handbook on Language and Race, edited volume)

Author [See pages 179-185] 2019

“Build the Wall!”: Post-Truth on the US-Mexico Border

Article, American Anthropologist

Co-Author 2019

Speak American

Article, Anthropology News

Co-Authored with Melanie Brown (AU '19)

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 (AU '17) and Nancy Dennehy (AU '16)

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 list of my research interests. For more of information, please visit 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.