His first faculty position was at Ohio University, whose Junior Year Abroad Program he directed in Tours, France, in 1973-74. In 1975, he accepted a position in the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he served as chair from 1979-1990. While chair, he initiated a number of interdisciplinary programs such as the Foreign Film Series and the awards for students who excel in the various languages taught. In 1988, he founded and directed an international celebration of Proust’s novel that drew national and international media attention. While at UAB, Carter was elected to two terms as president of the Alabama Humanities Foundation.
Since 1985, he has been a member of the Proust Research Center at the Sorbonne and a member of the editorial board of the Bulletin Marcel Proust. In 1989, he was awarded the Palmes Académiques by the French government in recognition of his activities promoting French culture and literature in the United States.
Carter served as project director and co-producer of the award-winning documentary film Marcel Proust: A Writer’s Life, which aired nationally on PBS in 1993 and has since been broadcast in many other countries. His biography, Marcel Proust: A Life was selected by The New York Times as a “Notable Book of 2000,” and by the London Times and the L.A. Times as one of the “best biographies” of the year. In 2000, Carter was invited by Lincoln Center to be one of the participants in a tribute to Marcel Proust in the series Great Performances. Other publications include The Proustian Quest and Proust in Love.
Carter also produced a collection of interviews with novelist and historian Shelby Foote, Conversations with Shelby Foote. His current project for Yale University Press is a revised, annotated edition of Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of In Search of Lost Time. Four of the projected six volumes are now in print.
Carter and his wife Lynn reside in Birmingham, Alabama.