David Levin

Alice H. and Stanley G. Harris Jr. Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Germanic Studies, Department of Cinema & Media Studies, the Committee on Theater and Performance Studies, and the College
Wieboldt 122
Ph.D., University of California Berkeley
Research Interests: German Cinema (Weimar and New German Cinema); theories of spectacle; melodrama; performance theory; intersections of cinema, theater, and opera


On leave for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Since joining the faculty at Chicago, David Levin has taught courses in German Cinema (e.g., Weimar Cinema; German Cinema 1945-1989; Fassbinder: Melodrama, Politics, and Poetics; The Cinema of Catastrophe), on theories of spectacle; performance theory; and the intersections of cinema, theater, and opera. Recently, his research and teaching have been organized around questions of performance and spectatorship, especially the institutional and ideological histories of absorption. In addition to Levin's academic work, he has spent a number of years working as a dramaturg, mostly in Germany, (e.g., at the Frankfurt Opera, the Bremen Opera, and the Frankfurt Ballet) but also, more recently, at Lyric Opera of Chicago and for opera cabal, an avant-garde opera company based in New York and Chicago. For the past five years, he has served as the executive editor of the Opera Quarterly (published by Oxford University Press). From 2007-2010, he served as Co-Director of the MAPH Program at the University of Chicago. In the Spring of 2010 Levin hosted, alongside Christopher Wild, "Praxes of Theory", an international conference at Chicago that brought together artists and scholars form Berlin and Chicago to explore the intersections of performance practice and performance theory. The conference inaugurated a multi-year cooperation with the Institute for Theater Studies at the Free University Berlin.  In the Summer of 2011, he was named the inaugural Director of the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago

Levin is currently serving as the Senior Advisor to the Provost for the Arts. 


Previously taught courses include: Opera in the Age of Its Mechanical Reproducibility (CMST 28301 / 38301), Kafka and Performance (CMST 28310 / 38310), Post-Dramatic Theater (TAPS 26400 / 36400), and Nazi Cinema (Spring 2021, CMST 22118 / 32118).