My Introduction: Joining the FI as a Graduate Fellow

Hello! My name is Cihan Tekay and I am a new Graduate Fellow at the Futures Initiative, where I will be working as the Institutional Leadership and Administration Specialist. I am a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the Graduate Center, where I am writing a dissertation on the impact of Turkey’s electrical infrastructure on the emergence of novel forms of citizenship around World War I. With a strong focus on political economy‘s power to make global connections, I am interested in how people’s engagement with science, technology, and popular political ideologies shape visions of the future during periods of transformation.

I have been trained as an interdisciplinary scholar since the beginning of my career in higher education, when I attended Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, known for its experimental and innovative academic program. Gaining experience in both teaching and administrative support roles across the CUNY system encouraged me to start asking questions about how change happens in public higher education as incoming generations of students and scholars face new futures. I am excited to think about the possible directions for reform in public higher education together with my new colleagues at FI during this academic year.

One of my primary roles at FI this year will be to help organize Graduate Education at Work in the World, a free, day-long conference at the Graduate Center where scholars, students, and practitioners are invited to discuss their visions for redesigning graduate education to contribute to equity, diversity and the public good. As Specialist of Institutional Leadership and Administration, I will also be assisting Katina Rogers, FI’s Director of Programs and Administration, during the final stages of the publication of her book Putting the Humanities PhD to Work, and with her leadership role at the FI.

I am committed to public scholarship, academic freedom, and imagining fair and equitable futures for the public university. I am especially interested in translation across cultures, languages or contexts that facilitate the exchange of diverse perspectives on understanding and interpreting the world. Since 2013, I have been a co-editor of the Turkey section on Jadaliyya, a peer-reviewed and open digital forum where scholars share their analysis of contemporary political events as well as cultural and artistic developments in the Middle East with the larger public in multiple languages. I look forward to continuing the conversation at the FI on transforming the ways in which we produce and disseminate knowledge in and out of the university, and how we can create multidisciplinary, collaborative environments for research and learning.

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