Nicole Trujillo-Pagan

Nicole Trujillo-Pagan

Associate Professor

(313) 577-8206

2256 FAB (Sociology)

3315 FAB (Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies)

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Nicole Trujillo-Pagan

 I use qualitative methodologies (comparative historical, ethnographic, discourse analysis) to study how policies produce inequalities (and how mobility challenges them) in order to further a politics of possibility.

Research Interest/Area of Expertise

  •  Race/Ethnicity, Immigration


American Dreams, Latino/a Realities: Reconciling Poverty and Mobility in the Hyper-Segregated City

A tradition of scholarship explores the relationship between culture and poverty. While scholars have moved toward more careful analyses of when and how culture might condition the experience of poverty, we still know relatively little about how Latino/a youth understand their possibilities and the alternatives they imagine can evade persistent poverty. This project uses interview data to explain how Latino/as make sense of poverty and social mobility in Detroit. In particular, it looks at three different Latino/a groups to understand how Latino/as navigate their ambivalent social location in a majority-minority city. On the one hand, their racialized experience implicates them in the color line, which is particularly marked in the black-white binary of the city and its suburbs. On the other hand, Latino/as in mixed-status households struggle as an immigrant ethnic group to “make it” relative to a mainstream economy shaped by space beyond the city’s boundaries, including the U.S.-Canadian border and suburban areas that have been known as the “whitest” in America. The urban and national boundaries shaping the experience of Latino/as in Detroit also informs the way they use space to navigate this ambivalent position. The project draws from the experiences of Latino/a citizens, undocumented immigrants, and those whose “liminal legality” as “Dreamers” (DACA recipients) remains uncertain in order to explain how boundaries are sites of simultaneous disadvantage and opportunity.


Education – Degrees, Licenses, Certifications

  • Ph.D. - Sociology (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

Currently Teaching

  • Learning about Your Community through Research

    Social Problems

Courses taught

Race Relations in Urban Areas

Latino/a Urban Problems

Sociological Theory

Learning about Your Community through Research

Social Problems

Citation Index