Biography for the Arab Pioneers in America
Barakat, Halim (1936- ), novelist, sociologist and retired Research Professor of Society and Culture at The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies of Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. (1976-2002). He also taught at The American University of Beirut (1966-72), The University of Texas at Austin (1975-76 ), and served as Research Fellow at Harvard University (1972-73). Born in Kafrun (Syria) and raised in Beirut , Barakat received a BA(1955) and MA(1960) degrees in sociology from The American University of Beirut , and a PhD in social psychology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (1966).
Barakat has authored over 17 books and some fifty essays in Arabic and English on society and culture in edited books and professional journals such as the British Journal of Sociology, Middle East Journal, Mawakif and al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi. He has contributed op-ed articles to several Arabic weekly Journals and daily papers including al-Hayat and al-Nahar. His sociological books include The Arab World : Society, Culture and State (University of California Press, 1993), and Lebanon in Strife: Student Preludes to the Civil War ( University of Texas Press, 1977). His sociological works are analytical and deeply concerned about the social, cultural and political issues of contemporary Arab society such as alienation, crisis of civil society, identity, freedom and justice.
Barakat has published six novels and a collection of short stories in Arabic . Translations of his fictional works have appeared in English, French, German and Japanese including Days of Dust, Six Days (Lynne Rienner), and Le Vaisseau Reprend Le Large. His novel Six Days (Sittat Ayam, 1961) is prophetically named for a real war yet to come in 1967; as such, it became a prelude to the later novel Days of Dust ('Awdat al-Ta'ir ila al-Bahr, 1969), which unfolds the existential drama of the June War of 1967. His other works of fiction include al-Qimam al-Khadra' (Green Sumits ,1956) , al-Samt wal-Matar (Silence and Rain, 1958), al-Rahil Baina al-Sahm wal-Watar (A Journy Between The Arrow An The Cord, 1979), Ta'ir al-Hawm (The Crane, 1988), and Innana wal-Nahr (Inana and The River,1995). His fictional works, though vividly realistic, are suffused with symbolism and allegory, expressing a humanistic and universal interpretations of historical events.