The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Pouya Alimagham is a lecturer of the Middle East at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is a Faculty Affiliate at Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School. He also taught at Boston University and UC Berkeley.
His research focuses on revolutionary movements, Iranian protest music, women and gender in Middle East revolutionary upheaval, “political Islam” and post-Islamism, imperialism, and the psycho-history of post-9/11 discourse. His dissertation, “Contesting the Iranian Revolution: The Green Uprising,” was the 2016 winner of the Association for Iranian Studies’ Mehrdad Mashayekhi Dissertation Award. The manuscript was published in expanded form with Cambridge University Press in 2020. 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 teaches “The Modern Middle East”–a survey course–and “Islam, the Middle East, and the West,” which covers the early Islamic period until the present. In the fall of 2018, he also instituted at MIT and taught for the first time, “Modern Iran: A Century of Revolution.” 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 spring of 2019, MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) awarded him the Levitan Teaching Award.
Alimagham holds a PhD and an MA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, an MA from Harvard University, and a BA from UC Berkeley.