Margaret Litvin

Associate Professor of Arabic & Comparative Literature

  • Title Associate Professor of Arabic & Comparative Literature
  • Office STH 634
  • Phone 617-358-5205
  • Education BA, Yale University
    MA, University of Chicago
    PhD, University of Chicago


Margaret Litvin is a historian of modern Arabic literature and theatre. Her first book, Hamlet’s Arab Journey: Shakespeare’s Prince and Nasser’s Ghost (Princeton, 2011), has been taught in university courses ranging from “Theatre History” to “The New Comparative Literature” to “Anthropology of the Middle East.” Her current research continues the effort to situate Arab cultural production in global context. Her book manuscript, Another East: Arab Writers, Moscow Dreams, reconstructs some literary legacies of Arab-Russian and Arab-Soviet cultural ties. Another ongoing book project, Sindbad’s Raft, Houdini’s Cage: Arab/ic Theatre in the New World Market, analyzes the phenomenon of Arab/ic theatre produced for European and American audiences. Her translations include Hamlet adaptations by Syrian and Iraqi playwrights (in Four Arab Hamlet Plays, co-edited with Marvin Carlson, Segal Theatre Center, 2016) and Sonallah Ibrahim’s Moscow-set novel Ice (Seagull Publishing, 2019).

At BU, Litvin teaches Arabic and world literature, including literary translation, “Global Shakespeares,” and “1001 Nights in the World Literary Imagination.” She was founding director of the Middle East & North Africa Studies Program (2013-2017). She advises students in the Arabic minor and WLL’s BA in Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages & Literatures. She is a core faculty member of the new Masters in Literary Translation.

Litvin’s research has been recognized with an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship to Berlin (2017-8), an ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship to Sweden (2015-6), a Peter Paul Career Development Professorship at BU (2009-11), an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale University, and two CASA fellowships to Cairo (2001-2 and 2011). Her writing and artist interviews have appeared in Theatre Research International, Journal of Arabic Literature, Critical Survey, Tank, PMLA, several Shakespeare journals, and the online venues Marginalia Review of Books, Words Without Borders, and n+1. She has served on dissertation committees at BU, Harvard, Trinity College Dublin, and Complutense University in Madrid

Margaret Litvin’s CV

Watch Professor Litvin’s lecture, “Tongue-Tied Internationalism: Adventures with a Soviet Setting, an Egyptian Novel, and an Indian Press”, presented at BU’s Translation Seminar (April 10, 2020)

Read an interview with Professor Litvin, “Teaching with Arabic Literature in Translation: The Bilingual Course, Backwards” a discussion about CAS LY 350.

Read Professor Litvin’s essay about teaching Literary Translation at Boston University

Read an interview with Professor Litvin on the blog for Transregional Research, Berlin. “I want to see more rising scholars with large and diverse language sets and really transnational interests – 5in10 with Margaret Litvin”

Watch Professor Litvin’s lecture “Shall We Be or Not Be: Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Anxieties of Arab Nationalism.”

Watch Professor Litvin’s 2011 lecture “I Am Hamlet” presented at Cairo University

Visit Professor Litvin’s Personal Website

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