Department of Culture & Creative Industries
PhD title: Taste and Modernity: A case study of food, culture and identity in Istanbul
Supervisor: Professor Andy C. Pratt and Dr. Janet Merkel
Aysegul has a BSc (Vehbi Koc Scholar) in Economics from Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey. With the influence of her year abroad as an exchange student at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., Aysegul took an interest in cultural studies and creative industries towards the end of her studies in 2006-7. She has pursued an MSc degree in the economics and management of creative industries (Arts, Culture, Media and Entertainment) at the Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi (Università Bocconi) in Milan/ITALY - where she was funded with a merit-based full scholarship. Aysegul finished her degree programme at Università Bocconi as a Cum Laude Graduate in 2009. She submitted her dissertation on Gastronomy and Tourism in Turkey.
After working professionally for a brief period of time, during which time she continued to attend conferences and seminars in the area of gastronomy and tourism, she commenced her doctoral training at King's College London in October 2012 within the department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries (CMCI). In her second year, she moved to the City University London with her supervisor Prof. Andy C. Pratt.
Aysegul is currently completing her PhD at City, University of London and expects to submit in late Spring 2016.
Summary of current doctoral research
Aysegul’s doctoral research focused on changing conceptions of culture and identity in transitioning societies and examined distinction practice/positional struggles that individuals give on a daily basis in relation to who they are, their likes and dislikes by studying their food cultures.
Working within the ambit of Bourdieusian theories of culture, Aysegul aimed to present an innovative mode of approaching taste and identity in her thesis. Aiming to go beyond the more conventional static ordering and stratification of culture, she explored the contradictory positionings that characterize everyday lives of individuals in Turkey (more specifically Istanbul), which can manifest themselves clearly in their food cultures.
Indeed, food facilitated a unique insight into the active making and remaking of cultural distinctions and identity, since food has always been about sociality, practice and organization, formality and commensality; and as Aysegul’s thesis also argued, it also extended to notions of cosmopolitanism, modernity, tradition and authenticity.
Cultural Sociology, Food Studies, Cultural Studies, Cultural Identity
Public Presentations and Conference Papers Given
- Modernization and Taste: A study of food, culture and identity in Istanbul. (December 2015). CCCI Lunch Seminar. City University London, UK.
- Being Pro-European, Being Modern, Being Elite? Hybridization of Elite Tastes in Istanbul. (November 2015). Changing Elites in Europe. LSE, London, UK.
- Authenticity, Tradition and Modernity: A Study of Taste and Eating-Out in Istanbul. (September 2015). Constructing and Defining Food Practices – The Food Project: 4th Global Meeting, Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom, organized by Inter-Disciplinary.Net
- Food, Distinction and identity in cultures of disarray: A case study of Turkish society. (June 2015). CMCI Conference 2015, “Cultures in Disarray: Destruction/Reconstruction”, King’s College London, London, UK
- Modernization & Taste: A case study of gastronomic stratification and taste in Istanbul, Turkey. (May 2015). Food in Society and Culture – Research across the Social Sciences and the Humanities, University of Helsinki, Finland
- Gastronomy and Distinction: A case study of crosscutting value systems in the formation of taste hierarchy in Istanbul, Turkey. (January 2015). CCI Seminars, City University London (Department of Culture, and Creative Industries), London, UK
- Sociability, Family and Food: The Case of Turkish Breakfasts. (October 2014). 4th Annual Food Studies Conference, Monash University, Prato, Italy, organized by Common Ground Publishing
- Gastronomic Tourism: A reconceptualization and introduction to the case of Turkey. (September - October 2013). Tourism, local foods and regional development, Linnaeus University School of Business and Economics, Kalmar, Sweden
- Food Tourism for Consolidation of Soft-Powers in the Nation-State. (June 2013). CMCI Conference 2013, “Power and Culture”, King’s College London, London, UK
- The role of culture for gastronomy tourism in Turkey. An Approach by ICT. (July 2012). 11th GSA Conference 2012, Manchester University, Manchester, UK, “Globalizing cultures and identities: Sport, lifestyle, heritage”
Aysegul has been leading seminars at City since 2015. These have included Interrogating Consumer Culture (BA) and Cultural Policy (MA). She has also given guest lectures on cultural tourism and interviews as a qualitative research method.
- Kesimoglu A (2015). Commensality, culture and identity in Turkish Breakfasts - CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE OF BREAKFASTS. Manuscript.
- Kesimoglu A (2015). A reconceptualization of gastronomy as relational and reflexive. Hospitality & Society (5)1: 71-92.
- Kesimoglu A (2014) Entertainment & Food Tourism in the Backdrop of Late Modernity and a Reflection on Turkey. In: Ozturk G (ed.) Cultural Perspectives on the Entertainment Industry: Communication, Media, and Societal Impacts. USA: IGI Global: 39-56.
- (Non academic - Edited) Kesimoglu, A (28 June 2013). Place Branding: The Soft Power of Food. CurzonPR, Global | Arts and Culture | Business and Policy