Peter Carravetta

Born in Italy in 1951, immigrated to the US in 1963 and American citizen since 1969, at present he is “Alfonse M. D’Amato” Professor of Italian and Italian American Studies, in the Department of European Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, at Stony Brook University, NY. Previously he was Professor of Italian, European Languages and Literatures, Queens College/CUNY, 1983-2008; & Doctoral Faculty, Comparative Literature, Graduate Center/CUNY.
He was Visiting Professor in many Faculties: Professore a Contratto, Faculty of Aesthetics, Univ. of Rome/2, Spring 1990; Exchange Professor, Dept. of European Studies, Univ. of Paris/8, Fall 1999; Visiting Professor, Dept. of Italian, Middlebury College, Summer 2001; Fulbright Senior Lecturer, Dept. of English, Univ. of Madrid/Complutense, Spring 2003; Visiting Professor, Dept. of Italian, Columbia University, Fall 2006; Visiting Professor, Dept. of American Studies, Nanjing University, January, 2009.Peter Carravetta resides in Queens, NY. While at CUNY, served as Chair of Dept of European Languages (1995-99), and Director of a World Studies Program (1993-99). Served on different committees while at Queens College and at Stony Brook University. Curated four art exhibits, and organized over twenty conferences and panels in philosophy, cultural studies, Italian Studies, and Italian American Studies. Presently developing a MA & PhD Program in European Studies with two tracks (Literatures and Cultures & Globalization and Migrations) at Stony Brook University; expected to start in September, 2014.
His personal website: petercarravetta.com

Fra le sue numerosissime pubblicazioni, ricordiamo solo le monografie:

Books Published

The Elusive Hermes. Method, Discourse, Interpreting (Aurora (CO), Davies Group Publishing, 2012; 486 pp). Entirely rewritten and augmented versions of the 1996 Il fantasma di Hermes, and the 2002 Dei parlanti, this book is a general theory of interpretation that explores the co-enabling relation between method and rhetoric, and is anchored on the trichotomy Interpreter, Work, Interpreting process. Tested through additional studies on Sophists, Hegel, Peirce, and contemporary authors on the philosophy of rhetoric.

– Sulle tracce di Hermes. Migrare, narrare, riorientarsi (Milano, Morellini, 2012; 192 pp). Three long papers dealing with the phenomenology of the journey, the theory of migration (transl. from English), and the origins of Italian emigration to the United States. Previously published and now expanded, with Introduction.

Del PostmodernoCritica e cultura in America all’alba del duemila (Milano, Bompiani, 2009; 620 pp). Gathers 20 years of studies and essays on postmodernism in American culture, with chapters on popular culture, post-colonial studies, feminism, globalization, literary theory, public intellectuals, utopism, higher education, philosophy and history. English version forthcoming in 2014.

Dei Parlanti. Studi e ipotesi su metodo e retorica dell’interpretare (Torino: Marcovalerio, 2002; 300 pp). Continuation  of Hermes project (see next entry), with studies in the rhetorical hermeneutics present in the work of  P. Valesio, G. Hartman, L. Pareyson, P. Ricoeur, G. Vico.

Il fantasma di Hermes. Saggio su metodo, retorica, interpretare (Lecce: Milella, 1996; 420 pp.) New analyses of the notions of method, theory and rhetoric, and implications for hermeneutics; from Aristotle and Plato through Descartes, Husserl, Gadamer, Perelman, De Man.

Prefaces to the Diaphora. Rhetorics, Allegory, and the Interpretation of Postmodernity (W. Lafayette: Purdue Univ. Press, 1991; 350 pp). With studies on avant-gardes vs postmodernism, a rethinking of rhetoric and allegory, Nietzsche, D’Annunzio, Vattimo,  Lyotard, and Heidegger.

Co-Edited Books

Poesaggio. Poeti italiani d’America (with P. Valesio). (Treviso: Pagus, 1994; 302 pp). Wrote Introduction, poems, and essay on poetics. This is the very first gathering of 12 Italian poets living in the US, establishing the beginning of an italophone literature abroad.

Postmoderno e letteratura. Percorsi e visioni della critica in America (with P. Spedicato). (Milano: Bompiani, 1984; 340 pp); with chapter on Yale Critics, translated four of 14 American authors. This book is credited with having launched the debate on postmodernism in Italy.

Peter Carravetta Elusive HermesThe Elusive Hermes: Method, Discourse, Interpreting
(The Davies Group Publishers, 2013)The author proposes a new general theory of interpretation by taking as a starting point the interconnectedness between Method, Theory, and Discourse. He holds that a worldview requires a way of understanding it, and trying to comprehend something requires that we have some idea of it. In this fashion, Method and Theory are always co-present during interpretation. To explore this bond, the author finds in Discourse the common and indeed primordial material to enable both theorization and methodic inquiry. In a strong reevaluation of rhetoric as philosophy, fertile ground for the thesis is found in the Sophists, Peirce, Ricouer, and Perelman. With these premises established, the book then lays out a flexible model for interpretation anchored to three necessary critical loci: the Work, the Interpreter, and the Interpreting act or process itself. This last element requires the reintroduction of consciousness and taking language as endowed from the start with a pragmatic dimension. The model is put to the test by studying the relation between Method and Discourse in Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Husserl. Crossing various disciplines, these researches delve into key turning points in the succession of approaches that became dominant in determining who or what we are, and how we can know anything at all. The author concludes that the sciences and the humanities are not antithetical, as we have been led to believe throughout Modernity, but rather share common origins, concerns, and discursive practices. This is the first of a four volume project under the aegis of the messenger deity Hermes. Volume IV, On the Postmodern, was published in 2009; volume II,Thresholds: Method and Interpretation in Contemporary Italy, is in progress; volume III will focus on humanism.
Peter Carravetta Sulle tracce di Hermes. Migrare, vivere, riorientarsiSulle tracce di Hermes. Migrare, vivere, riorientarsi
(Morellini, 2012)Gli interventi qui raccolti, posti sotto la fluida egida di Hermes, riguardano tre temi interconnessi: la fenomenologia e la metaforologia del viaggio, la tipologia dei viaggiatori e quindi le questioni connesse del radicamento e dell’identità, chiamate in causa quando si oltrepassano frontiere e barriere, e infine la questione della storia, giocata tra vissuto e narrato, con particolare riferimento alle origini della grande emigrazione italiana di fine Ottocento. L’anello che tiene insieme gli interventi è la tesi che cambiare, trasferire e riorientarsi continuamente in rapporto a situazioni e contesti essi stessi praticamente in via di costante trasformazione – rappresenta una dimensione costitutiva e abilitante. Ne risulta un primo tentativo di ripensare l’attività del migrare non più come episodica, ma come inarrestabile fenomeno globale, da sempre concreto e ideale a un tempo, ricordando che l’esperienza si dà tra un luogo che non c’è più e un altro che non c’è ancora, instaurandosi come il vero motore della storia umana. Prefazione di Remo Bodei.
Peter Carravetta Del PostmodernoDel postmoderno. Crisi e cultura in America all’alba del Duemila
(Bompiani, 2009)Secondo l’autore, il postmoderno è la chiave di lettura per comprendere l’America della seconda metà del ‘900, in particolare dagli anni 70 al 2001, e proprio per questa sua centralità è necessario capirne meglio le definizioni e le conseguenze sul nostro presente. Riannodando studi e interventi che coprono l’arco di un quindicennio, Carravetta ripercorre in modo sistematico e metacritico le tante definizioni che di postmoderno sono state date da molte figure di rilievo, e alcuni movimenti teorici che l’hanno alimentato: la complessa eredità delle avanguardie, il femminismo, i Cultural Studies, il decostruzionismo, il neostoricismo, la globalizzazione, l’ermeneutica (a ciascuno dei quali è dedicato un capitolo). Una verifica, dunque, di cosa ha significato il postmoderno in maniera pluriprospettica, comparativa e interdisciplinare, con in aggiunta una sezione dedicata all’America “vista dall’interno”, in una serrata esposizione, descrittiva e insieme spassionata, in cui vediamo un paese che cerca di capire se stesso, in particolare nel modo di ripensare il proprio passato, le sue istituzioni educative e religiose, il rapporto con le culture altre, il ruolo che vorrebbe svolgere sullo scacchiere mondiale, l’impasse che segue la fine della guerra fredda, fino all’anno e all’evento che – almeno per l’America – mette tutte le discussioni a tacere, soprattutto quelle moderniste e segnate dall’ironia.
Peter Carravetta Dei ParlantiDei Parlanti. Studi e ipotesi su metodo e retorica dell’interpretare
(Marcovalerio, 2002)Questa raccolta riconfigura il complesso nodo tra metodo critico e teoria dell’interpretazione in base al loro risvolto linguistico. Attraverso testi e contesti europei ed americani, l’autore approda a una retorica ermeneutica che rifiuta l’autonomia del significante per rivendicare l’inevitabile eteronomia del significato, abbandona la generalità del segno e del simbolo per riproporre la specificità euristica e ideologica del processo di simbolizzazione.
Da qui la proposte di ripensare la dimensione retorica e quindi della figurazione presente in ogni enunciato interpretativo come persuasione a un tempo etica e cognitiva e che determina la direzione dell’interpretare e quindi lo scopo dell’attività critica.
Peter Carravetta Prefaces to the DiaphoraPrefaces to the Diaphora: Rhetorics, Allegory, and the Interpretation of Postmodernity
(Purdue University Press, 1991)The central concern of these eight studies and essays is the understanding and critique of culture at the shifty boundaries between the Modem and the Postmodern epochs. The author contends that what needs to be addressed is the very abyss, the “spacetime” between the Modem and the Postmodern worldviews, as well as the tension between aesthetics and ethics, critical discourse and the creative arts, in an effort to rethink multireferential processes of signification. The keystone of the book is Carravetta’s notion of Diaphoristics, a theory of interpretation as dialogue. Diaphora, or difference, refers to the ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy and signifies the movement between asymmetrical or heterogeneous forms of discourse that have, both historically and speculatively, home the transfer of meaning from one semantic/hermeneutic field to another. The author focuses on the necessary risk and duplicity of criticism and develops nonagonistic models based on figuration and rhetorical dynamics.