Pouya Alimagham

Lecturer

Pouya Alimagham is a historian of the modern Middle East. He specializes on Iran, Iraq, and the Levant, focusing on such themes as revolutionary and guerrilla movements, imperialism, representation and Orientalism, “Political Islam” and post-Islamism, and the intersections therein.

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. The manuscript was published in expanded form with Cambridge University Press in 2020. His other articles and book chapters (some in progress) cover the Arab Spring, Iranian protest music, women in Middle East revolutions, sectarianism, and the psycho-history of post-9/11 discourse.

He teaches “The Modern Middle East”–a survey course–“Islam, the Middle East, and the West,” which covers the early Islamic period until the present, focusing on the life of Muhammad and Quranic exegesis, and unpacking thematic issues, such as Orientalism, colonialism and nationalism, political Islam, whether such a bipolarity of “Islam and the West” is useful, Islamophobia, and the “Clash of Civilizations.” He co-teaches with two other faculty members “How to Stage a Revolution”–his unit of which covers the historical and theoretical underpinnings of the Iranian Revolution and the Green Uprising. In the fall of 2018, he also instituted and taught for the first time, “Modern Iran: A Century of Revolution.”  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.

His English and Persian language interviews can be heard on KPFK 90.7 FM and KIRN Radio Iran 670 AM, respectively, and his most recent quotes have appeared in The Independent, Al Jazeera, and Newsweek. His latest opinion pieces have been published in liberal, centrist, and conservative media, such as LobeLog, Informed Comment, The Fletcher Forum, and The American Conservative

Subjects Offered

Offered Fall 2021

Catalog Subject Faculty Level HASS Category
21H.001

How to Stage a Revolution

Lecture: TR 1-2, 5-234
Recitation 1: R 2-3, 1-273
Recitation 2: R 2-3, 1-277
Recitation 3: R 3-4, 1-273
Pouya Alimagham
Malick W. Ghachem
Caley Horan
Introductory HASS-H CI-H
21H.261

Modern Iran: A Century of Revolution

MW 11:30-1, 5-217
Pouya Alimagham Intermediate HASS-H

Not Offered This Term

Catalog Subject Faculty Level HASS Category
21H.160

Islam, the Middle East, and the West

Pouya Alimagham Introductory HASS-H
21H.161

The Modern Middle East

Pouya Alimagham Introductory HASS-H CI-H
21H.262

Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Not offered regularly; consult department
Pouya Alimagham Intermediate HASS-H