Benedetto Fontana

fontana
Position: Associate Professor
Campus Affiliation: Baruch College|Graduate Center
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D. Graduate Center/CUNY
Research Interests: ancient, modern and contemporary political theory; history of political thought

Professor Fontana teaches political theory and American political thought. He is the author of Hegemony and Power: On the Relation Between Gramsci and Machiavelli (University of Minnesota Press, 1993), Turkish translation, Hegemonya ve Iktidar: Gramsci ve Machiavelli Arasindaki ilişki Üzerine (Istanbul: Kalkedon, 2013), and the coeditor ofTalking Democracy: Historical Perspectives on Rhetoric and Democracy(Penn State University Press, 2004). He is a contributor to The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Historians (2009). He has published in various journals: boundary 2, Cardozo Law Review,European Journal of Political Theory, History of Political Thought, Italian Culture, Journal of Classical Sociology, Journal of the History of Ideas,Journal of Modern Italian Studies, Journal of Political Power, Memoria: Revista mensual de política y cultura, The Philosophical Forum, Rivista di studi italiani, and Storia del pensiero politico. Currently he is working on Antonio Gramsci’s political thought, on Machiavelli and his Romans, and on the relation between politics and rhetoric.

Books

talking democracyBenedetto Fontana, Cary J. Nederman, and Gary Remer, eds., Talking Democracy: Historical Perspectives on Rhetoric and Democracy (Penn State University Press, 2004).

In their efforts to uncover the principles of a robust conception of democracy, theorists of deliberative democracy place a premium on the role of political expression—public speech and reasoned debate—as the key to democratic processes. They also frequently hark back to historical antecedents (as in the Habermasian invocation of the “public sphere” of eighteenth-century bourgeois society and the Arendtian valorization of the classical Athenian polis) in their quest to establish that deliberative procedures are more than “merely theoretical” and instead have a practical application. But for all this emphasis on the discursive and historical dimensions of democracy, these theorists have generally neglected the rich resources available in the history of rhetorical theory and practice. It is the purpose of Talking Democracy to resurrect this history and show how attention to rhetoric can help lead to a better understanding of both the strengths and limitations of current theories of deliberative democracy.

Contributors, besides the editors, are Russell Bentley, Tsae Lan Lee Dow, Tom Murphy, Arlene Saxonhouse, Gary Shiffman, John Uhr, Nadia Urbinati, John von Heyking, and Douglas Walton.

hegemony and powerBenedetto Fontana, Hegemony & Power: On the Relation between Gramsci and Machiavelli (University of Minnesota Press, 1993).

Presents a comparative and textual exploration of Gramsci’s interpretation of Machiavelli’s political anlayses. This valuable contribution to our understanding of Gramsci includes a comparison of the major Machiavellian ideas such as the nature of political knowledge, the new principality, the concept of the people, and the relation between thought and action, to Gramsci’s concepts of hegemony, moral and intellectual reform, and the collective will.

Presents a comparative and textual exploration of Gramsci’s interpretation of Machiavelli’s political anlayses. This valuable contribution to our understanding of Gramsci includes a comparison of the major Machiavellian ideas such as the nature of political knowledge, the new principality, the concept of the people, and the relation between thought and action, to Gramsci’s concepts of hegemony, moral and intellectual reform, and the collective will.

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