Wesleyan portrait of Charles  Barber

Charles Barber

Associate Professor of the Practice in Letters

116 Mt. Vernon Street, 302


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BA Harvard University
MFA Columbia University

Charles Barber

Charles Barber is a nonfiction author who writes about contemporary mental health and criminal justice issues, for both popular and scholarly audiences. 

Charles Barber is the author of three nonfiction books about criminal justice and mental health issues:  Songs from the Black Chair: A Memoir of Mental Interiors (University of Nebraska Press, 2005), Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation (Random House, 2008), and Citizen Outlaw: One Man's Journey from Gangleader to Peacekeeper (HarperCollins, 2019).  Songs from the Black Chair won a Pushcart Prize.  His work has appeared in The New York TImes, The Washington Post, The Nation, Salon, and Scientific American MIND, as well as in scholarly journals and books in psychiatry and criminology.  Before becoming a full-time writer and a teacher, he worked for many years with the homeless in New York City and in the corrections system in Connecticut. 

He has a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.F.A. from Columbia University. 

Academic Affiliations


Fall 2021
COL 201 - 01
Writing Nonfiction

COL 208 - 01
Art and Science of Social Eng