Maggie Levantovskaya

Maggie Levantovskaya

Visiting Professor, Foreign Languages and Literature
Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies

Office: Greene Museum 120C
Phone: (414)229-5499

Ph.D., Comparative Literature, UC San Diego, 2013
M.A., Comparative Literature, UC San Diego, 2010
B.A., Comparative Literature, Pitzer College

Teaching and Research Interests: 20th century and contemporary Russian literature, Russian film, Russian language, Jewish literature and film, the culture of Russian-speaking Jews in the U.S. and Israel, late and post-Soviet visual art by Russian-Jews, contemporary debates about diaspora, and literary representations of translation.

Levantovskaya, was born in Kiev, Ukraine, but grew up in San Francisco. She has been interested in issues of Jewish identity since childhood and attended a Jewish school in Kiev where she participated pretty actively in the Jewish community. However, Levantovskaya did not decide to become a ‘Jewologist’ until graduate school. In graduate school, she became interested in contemporary Russian literature and found herself revisiting some of her own experiences as a Russian-Jewish immigrant through fiction. Yet, in a way, Levantovskaya embarked on her current research in order to move beyond personal recollections and to see Russian-Jewish immigration.

Levantovskaya earned her Ph.D. from the University of California-San Diego, where she explored the tensions and overlaps between traditional conceptions of Jewish identity, its reformulation in the Soviet Union, and the emergence of a post-Soviet Jewish diasporic self through the analysis of contemporary literature.

Levantovskaya describes herself as a “big film buff” who enjoys attending film festivals and film preservation events, and seeing movies at the old Broadway theatres in Los Angeles. Her courses in the Literature Department at UC - San Diego focused on how film and literature reshape our knowledge of the past and the analysis of non-fictional literature and film.

Levantovskaya, who reads, writes, and speaks Russian with native proficiency, will teach elementary Russian and a course on film and literature titled “Brave New Russia: Film and Fiction After Communism.” That course will center largely on films about Russian-Jewish immigration and the use of autobiography as a literary device in Russian-Jewish fiction.

Dr. Levantovskaya’s self-proclaimed evolution as a pedagogue is motivated by the desire to inspire students’ intellectual engagement with historical, social, and political issues through the analysis of aesthetic works, and to provide them with the methodology for developing critical voices in oral and written forms. Levantovskaya has extensive experience in instructing multidisciplinary courses focusing on literary analysis, composition, rhetoric, research, and language acquisition. In her courses, she will follow and promote interdisciplinary and transnational approaches to the discussion of canonical, emergent, and underrepresented texts. Her research will continue to explore representations of identity and diaspora in Russian-Jewish fiction.