This summer, we’re introducing a new interview series to showcase members of our community who help make our division what it is.
We invite you to get to know one of our adjunct instructors, Berfu Aygenc, who teaches Sociology and Anthropology courses in the Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies.
Before joining NYU SPS, what were you doing?
I am about to complete my PhD in sociology at The New School. I also was teaching sociology courses at Pace University prior to joining NYU SPS.
Is there a research topic that you have not yet researched or taught, but would like to in the future?
In my current research, I deal with the issues of international migration, citizenship, and identity. I look at the problem from a historical perspective and try to understand the changes in national identity and citizenship in Turkey through an investigation of immigration patterns and the making of immigration policies. It is an important topic, as we see increasing movement of people in contemporary society, especially refugees. I have not yet had a chance to teach a course on this issue. Besides, I am also interested in economic sociology. At NYU SPS, we are working on reshaping the sociology curriculum and introducing new courses on economy and society. If everything goes as planned, I would like to teach a class on markets and society, the future of work, or the impact of technology on the economy.
Do you have any collections or things you like to collect?
Growing up, due to my father's job, we frequently moved from one city to another. As a person on the move who changed places and adapted to new spaces, I did not have a chance to invest in or to develop a taste in collecting. I am not sure if it counts as collecting, but I love my books, and I carry them everywhere.
What's the best advice you’ve ever received?
Be yourself, no matter what. That is what my mom would say to us all in the family.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood in NYC? Why?
Each part of the city has a unique texture and culture. I enjoy walking and making myself familiar with each neighborhood. As I spend most of my time around Union Square and Washington Square, I can say that my favorite area is Greenwich Village. I find it a unique neighborhood, vibrant with history, diversity, and movement of people. The Village also is a site of contestation and connection, and I like that dynamism. I feel at home when I come to this part of town.
Who/what is your inspiration?
I cannot say I have a single person who inspires me. We have people come in and out of our lives. With each one, we find something inspirational for ourselves. I think any person whose heart beats for equality and freedom for all inspires me deeply.
Do you have a hidden skill or talent?
My friends say that I am a good cook. I enjoy cooking, trying new recipes, and adding my personal touches. To me, it is a very creative and therapeutic activity. It connects your mind, body, and senses, and also makes people smile.
How do you fill your free time?
I like the company of my family and friends, so whenever we have free time, we usually plan activities that we can collectively enjoy. Besides, as a hobby, I meet my friends online once a week to play “DnD,” a science-fictional role-playing game. It has been going on for the last two years, and it is fun! I also try to save time for physical activities; snowboarding in the winter and yoga for all seasons. During this time of quarantine, I also started running.