The Center for Middle Eastern Studies presents a book talk by
Lecturer, Department of History, MIT
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Most observers of Iran viewed the Green Uprisings of 2009 as a 'failed revolution', with many Iranians and those in neighbouring Arab countries agreeing. In Contesting the Iranian Revolution, however, Pouya Alimagham re-examines this evaluation, deconstructing the conventional win-lose binary interpretations in a way which underscores the subtle but important victories on the ground, and reveals how Iran's modern history imbues those triumphs with consequential meaning. Focusing on the men and women who made this dynamic history, and who exist at the centre of these contentious politics, this 'history from below' brings to the fore the post-Islamist discursive assault on the government's symbols of legitimation. From powerful symbols rooted in Shiʿite Islam, Palestinian liberation, and the Iranian Revolution, Alimagham harnesses the wider history of Iran and the Middle East to highlight how activists contested the Islamic Republic's legitimacy to its very core.
Pouya Alimagham is a historian of the modern Middle East at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests inter alia focus on contentious politics, social movements, and Islamism. His PhD dissertation, Contesting the Iranian Revoluton: The Green Uprisings, which was awarded the Association for Iranian Studies Mehrdad Mashayekhi Dissertation Award, was published in 2020 by Cambridge University Press. His other articles and book chapters cover the Arab Spring, Iranian protest music, women in Middle East revolutions, sectarianism, and the psycho-history of post-9/11 discourse.
He has taught a range of courses that focus mostly on the modern period with one also covering early Islamic history, including “Modern Iran: A Century of Revolution,” “The Modern Middle East,” “Islam, the Middle East, and the West,” and “Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.” In the spring of 2019, MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) awarded him the Levitan Teaching Award – an award that was the result of a student-initiated process.
Contact: Liz Flanagan