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Xochitl Marsilli-VargasAssociate Professor of SpanishDirector of Graduate Studies


Dr. Marsilli-Vargas was born and raised in Mexico City. Her scholarly work centers on the reception and circulation of health discourses, media technologies, intercultural communication, and linguistic analysis. The empirical basis of her research has been Mexico, the United States and Argentina, where she has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in rural, institutional, and urban contexts including U.S. Latino/a populations. Her teaching experience includes upper-level and introductory courses at the University of California, Berkeley, the National University of Anthropology and History in Mexico City, and the University of San Francisco.

Dr. Marsilli-Vargas holds a Licenciatura in Social Anthropology from the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia. She wrote a thesis named La Enfermedad del Mito where she traced the concept of melancholy to its later transformation to depression by analyzing how this malady was conceptualized in different historical contexts. She then moved to New York City to work on a Master degree in semiotics at Columbia University. In her Master thesis entitled “The Power to Say No: Reviewing Asymmetry, An Analysis of Discourse Strategies in Doctor-Patient Interviews,” she analyzed how talk is negotiated between doctors and patients during medical encounters by analyzing recordings of clinical sessions between psychiatrists and patients at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Dr. Marsilli-Vargas received her PhD in Socio-Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2014. She is currently working on her book manuscript tentatively entitled “Genres of Listening: Psychoanalytic Listening as a Social Fact in Buenos Aires, Argentina,” which examines the idea that listening can be categorized into genres, or frames of reference by which listeners create contextual frameworks of interaction that hold the capacity to direct behavior. The main hypothesis is that just as there are many ways of speaking, there are many possible ways of listening. She is also working on a second project that explores contemporary digital environments, to investigate communicative practices that use different languages and linguistic codes while simultaneously being connected with a range of media technologies, through the analysis of interviews between asylum seekers from Latin America and US immigration officers.


  • “The Off-Line and On-Line Mediatization of Psychoanalysis in Buenos Aires.” Sign and Society, 4:1 May 2016.
  • “Anthropological Listening as a Genre.” Anthropology News - Society for Linguistic Anthropology, June 2015
  • “Listening Genres: The Emergence of Relevance Structures Through the Reception of Sound.” Journal of Pragmatics, Special Issue: “Emancipatory Pragmatics,” August 2014.