Barakat received his bachelor's degree in sociology in 1955, and his master's degree in 1960 in the same field. He received both from the American University of Beirut. He received his PhD in social psychology in 1966 from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. From 1966 until 1972 he taught at the American University of Beirut. He then served as research fellow at Harvard University from 1972 to 1973, and taught at the University of Texas at Austin in 1975-1976. From 1976 until 2002 he was Teaching Research Professor at The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies of Georgetown University.
Barakat has written about twenty books and fifty essays on society and culture in journals such as the British Journal of Sociology, the Middle East Journal, Mawakif and al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi. His publications are primarily concerned with difficulties facing modern Arab societies such as alienation, crisis of civil society, and a need for identity, freedom and justice. He has also published seven novels and a collection of short stories. These are rich with symbolism and allegory to world events. His novel Six Days (Sitat 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.
- Barakat, Halim (2011). Ghurbat al Kateb al-Arabi (in Arabic). Beirut: Dar Al-Saqi.
- Barakat, Halim (2008). Al-Mujtam' Al-Arabi Al-Mu'asir: Bahth Fi Tagheir alahual waa’al'alaqat (in Arabic). Beirut: Center for Arab Unity Studies. ISBN 9953-82-234-4. OCLC 313494100.
- Barakat, Halim (2008). The Crane. The American University in Cairo Press. ISBN 977-416-141-6. OCLC 181138745. Ta'ir al-Howm (1988) A novel in Arabic translated into English by Bassam Frangieh and Roger Allen.
- Barakat, Halim (2006). Al-Ightirāb fī al-thaqāfah al-ʻArabīyah: matāhāt al-insān bayna al-ḥulm wa-al-wāqīʻ [Alienation in Arab Culture] (in Arabic). Beirut: Center for Arab Unity Studies. ISBN 9953-82-090-2. OCLC 123501655.
- Barakat, Halim (2006). Al-Madīna Al-Mulawwana [City of Colors] (in Arabic). Beirut: Dar Al-Saqi. ISBN 1-85516-781-6. OCLC 73486809.
- Barakat, Halim (2004). Al-Huwīyah: Azmat al-ḥadāthah wa-al-waʻy al-taqlīdī [Identity: An Encounter Between Modernity and Tradition] (in Arabic). Beirut: Riad Alrayes. ISBN 9953-21-140-X. OCLC 58477760.
- Barakat, Halim (2000). Mujtama ' al-'Arabi Fi al-qarn al-'ishrin, bahth fi taghyir al-ahwal wa-al-'alaqat [Arab Society in the Twentieth Century] (in Arabic). Beirut: Center for Arab Unity Studies. OCLC 46648968.
- Barakat, Halim (1995). Aldimocratiyya Wal-Adala Al-Ijtimaiyya [Democracy and Social Justice] (in Arabic). Ramallah: MUWTIN The Palestinian Institute For the Study of Democracy. OCLC 33154368.
- Barakat, Halim (1995). Innana Wan-Nahr [Innana and The River] (in Arabic). Beirut: Dar Al-Adab. OCLC 32475166.
- Barakat, Halim (1993). The Arab World: Society, Culture, and State. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-08427-6. OCLC 26300272.
- Barakat, Halim (1992). Harb Al-khalij: Khutut Fi Al-Raml Walzman [Gulf War: Lines in Sand and Time] (in Arabic). Beituit: Center for Arab Unity Studies. OCLC 30476525.
- Barakat, Halim (1990). Six Days. Three Continents Press. ISBN 0-89410-661-9. OCLC 22347356. Sitat Ayam (1961), a novel in Arabic translated into English by Bassam Frangieh and Scott McGehee.
- Barakat, Halim (1985). Contemporary North Africa: Issues of Development and Integration. Croon Helm. ISBN 0-7099-3435-1. OCLC 12210270. From the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies' symposium, North Africa Today: Issues of Development and Integration, held at Georgetown University (1982). Introduction and chapter by Barakat.
- Barakat, Halim (1979). Al-Rahil Baina Al-Sahm Wal-watar [A Journey Between the Arrow and the Cord] (in Arabic).
- Barakat, Halim (1977). Lebanon in Strife: Student Preludes to the Civil War. University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-70322-8. OCLC 2598612.
- Barakat, Halim (1974). Days of Dust. Medina University Press International. ISBN 0-914456-08-3. OCLC 1104402. Awdat Altair Ila albahr (1969), a novel in Arabic translated into English by Trevor LeGassick with an introduction by Edward Said.
- Barakat, Halim; Dodd, Peter (1968). River Without Bridges: A Study of the exodus of the 1967 Palestinian Arab refugees. Institute for Palestine Studies. ISBN 0-914456-08-3. OCLC 2656805.
- Barakat, Halim (1958). Alsamt Wal-Mattar [Silence and Rain] (in Arabic). A collection of short stories.
- Barakat, Halim (1955). Alqimam Alkhadra' [Green Summits] (in Arabic).
Additional Books, Articles, Reviews, Recordings
- Biography for the Arab Pioneers in America, Barakat, Halim, retrieved September 21, 2007 <http://www.halimbarakat.com/profile>.