Director of Undergraduate Studies Associate Professor of Arabic & Comparative Literature
Spring 2023 Office Hours: STH 634, Wed 2:30-4 and by appointment
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 supported by the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, ACLS, BU Peter Paul Career Development Professorship, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Center for Arabic Study Abroad. Her writing and interviews have appeared in Theatre Research International, Journal of Arabic Literature, Critical Survey, Tank, PMLA, several Shakespeare journals, and the online venues ArabLit, Marginalia Review of Books, Words Without Borders, n+1. She has served on dissertation committees at BU, Harvard, NYU, Trinity College Dublin, and Complutense University in Madrid.
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.”
Visit Professor Litvin’s Personal Website
Discussion with director Hani Afifi at Cairo University, 2011
Interview with BBC Arabic on Arabic Chekhov adaptations, 2022