Nicole Trujillo-Pagan

Nicole Trujillo-Pagan

Associate Professor

(313) 577-8206

2256 FAB (Sociology)

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

Curriculum Vitae

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)

Selected Publications


(Under contract). American Dreams, Latino Realities: Reconciling Poverty and Mobility in the Hyper-Segregated City, Brill Academic Publishers.

Trujillo-Pagán, Nicole. 2013. Modern Colonization by Medical Intervention: U.S. Medicine in Puerto Rico, Brill Academic Publishers.


Select Refereed Articles

Trujillo-Pagán, Nicole. 2018. "Crossed out by LatinX: Gender neutrality and genderblind sexism," Lat Stud.

Trujillo-Pagán, Nicole. 2018. “A Tale of Four Cities: The Boundaries of Blackness for Ethiopian Immigrants in Washington, D.C., Tel Aviv, Rome and Melbourne,” Social Identities.

Cumberbatch, Prudence and Trujillo-Pagán, Nicole. 2016. “Hashtag Activism and Why #BlackLivesMatter In (and To) the Classroom,” Radical Teacher, 106.

Trujillo-Pagán, Nicole. 2014. “Emphasizing the “Complex” in the “Immigration Industrial Complex,” Critical Sociology, 40, 1, pp. 29-46.


Under Review/Revision

Trujillo-Pagán, Nicole. “The Language of ‘Juan Crow’ in Alabama.”

Trujillo-Pagán, Nicole. “Self-Deportation” as “Speak Softly” Discourse: Opposed Metaphors and the “Whistle” of White Supremacy”

Trujillo-Pagán, Nicole. “The Illusion of Choice and Illegal Enforcement: ‘Self-Deportation’ as Forced Migration”

Trujillo-Pagán, Nicole. “Blurred Borders and Reclaimed, “Forgotten” Urban Space”

Public Presentations

2018. “Sobremesa” talk show, on Wayne State Student Radio (WAYN).

Public Scholarship

“No Shock or Awe about ‘Acting’ LatinX”

Currently Teaching

  • Learning about Your Community through Research

    Social Problems

  • LAS 3610: Latino Urban Problems

    SOC 6060: Contemporary Social Theory

Courses taught

Sociological Theory
Social Problems
Race Relations in an Urban Society
Sociology of Immigration and Ethnicity
Introduction to Sociology
Project Community: Womens’ Issues

Latina/o/x Studies
Learning about Your Community through Research
Seminar in Latino Urban Problems
History of Latinos in the United States
Comparative Studies in African, Asian, and Latin American Cultures
Puerto Ricans and Dominicans: Comparative Perspectives and Contemporary Issues
History of Puerto Rico since 1815
Puerto Rican Communities in the United States: Settlement and Evolution
Institutions of Urban Life and the Latino Experience
Latin America
Emerging Realities and Alternatives for Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in the U.S.
Puerto Ricans in the United States

Citation Index