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 Shi'ite 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.
Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:
19 March 2020
Professional and scholarly
1. Situating the 2009 Green Uprisings; 2. Primer: from the theory of Islamic Republicanism to practice, 1979-2009; 3. On the streets and beyond: crowd action and the symbolic appropriation of the past; 4. Contesting Palestine: generating revolutionary meaning; 5. Co-opting mourning ceremonies: Montazeri, post-Islamism, and revolutionary Ashura; 6. Conclusion.
Pouya Alimagham is Lecturer and historian of the Middle East at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Receiving his Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan, his thesis on which this book is based was awarded the Mehrdad Mashayekhi Dissertation Award by the Association for Iranian Studies in 2016.
Reviews for Contesting the Iranian Revolution: The Green Uprisings
'Alimagham has done a fine job of understanding and explaining the ideas and motivations of Green movement activists largely on their own terms and using their own words. It is an important work of scholarship, and anyone that wants to understand modern Iran better would benefit from reading it. This study deepened and improved my own understanding of the modern political scene in Iran, and I think it will be a valuable reference work for a long time to come.' The American Conservative