Utku was born in Turkey. He graduated from the University of Texas-Arlington with a BA in 200. Utku received a Master in International Business Economics from the Catholic University of Leuven in 2004 and an MA in American Studies from the University of Antwerp in 2005, both in Belgium. He is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has also taught Politics and Sociology at the City University of New York for 3 years. He is currently teaching immigration-related courses such as Peopling New York and the Politics of Immigration and Citizenship in Europe and the US.
His dissertation is tentatively entitled “Remaking Nationhood: Assimilation and Citizenship among the College-educated Second Generation in New York and Berlin.” The dissertation examines the interaction of the biographies of upwardly mobile Dominicans in New York and Turks in Berlin with the historical and institutional context found in each society. The dissertation explores how these upwardly mobile children of immigrants from low income groups understand citizenship, assimilation, and national/ethnic identity, while analyzing what institutional and historical aspects of host societies enable equal citizenship rights and a feeling of inclusion in the national and local (political) community.The dissertation also seeks to analyze the social and political construction of national identities in each context. Qualitative interviews are utilized.