Pouya Alimagham



B.A. University of California, Berkeley, 2004
M.A. Harvard University, 2009
M.A. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011
Ph.D. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2015

Pouya Alimagham is a historian of the modern Middle East. He specializes on Iran, Iraq, and the Levant in the 20th century, focusing on such themes as revolutionary and guerrilla movements, imperialism, Political Islam, and post-Islamism. His first published article, “The Iranian Legacy in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution: Military Endurance and US Foreign Policy Priorities”—written two years before the 2013 coup in Egypt—outlined how the Iranian Revolution served as a precedent for both Egypt’s military brass and the US foreign policy establishment, and how it informed the decision to avoid a military crackdown in order to safeguard cohesion and prevent a political vacuum. In doing so, the military was poised to retain ultimate power in post-Mubarak Egypt, which was manifest in the military overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically-elected president. His dissertation, titled: “Contesting the Iranian Revolution: The Green Uprising,” was the 2016 winner of the Association for Iranian Studies’ Mehrdad Mashayekhi Dissertation Award, which is presented biannually. In the study, he argued that the Green Uprising in 2009 was a culmination of a decades-long history that constituted a post-Islamist paradigm shift in Iran. He harnessed wider regional history as well as Iran’s own revolutionary past in order to underscore his thesis. He is currently updating the manuscript to be published with Cambridge University Press in 2019, and teaches “The Middle East in the 20th Century”–a survey course–“Islam, the Middle and the West,” which covers the early Islamic period until the present day, unpacking core thematic issues, such as Orientalism, colonialism and nationalism, political Islam, whether such a bipolarity of “Islam and the West” is useful, and the so-called “Clash of Civilizations,” and he co-taught in the fall of 2017, “How to Stage a Revolution”–his unit of which covered the historical and theoretical underpinnings of the Iranian Revolution and the Green Uprising. In the fall of 2018, he will institute and teach for the first time, “Modern Iran: A Century of Revolution.”