Nilgün Uygun holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Boğaziçi University (Istanbul, Turkey) and a Ph.D in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University. Her doctoral work involved ethnographic research on sex work and migrant women from the former Soviet Union working in the Black Sea region of Turkey. She has taught and researched extensively on topics related to gender and sexuality, transnational migration and globalization, development studies, and contemporary Turkish studies. In addition to her doctoral work in anthropology, she has received graduate training in the philosophy of social science, political science and international relations. Nilgün brings to her work a long-standing interest in the philosophy and epistemologies of the social sciences. She is particularly interested in research approaches that synthesize the diverse strengths of the humanities and the social sciences. She believes good qualitative research is often a skillful combination of creative imagination, historically and culturally attuned interpretation (hermeneutic), and analytical and empirical rigor.
She has held academic appointments at Haverford College, Drexel University, and Doğuş University. She has also served as a social science research consultant on Muslim Voices in Philadelphia, a multimedia community history project organized by the Scribe Center.
A native of Turkey, Nilgün is fluent in both Turkish and English.