Humanities Faculty & Staff
Elizabeth Perkins, Dean
Dr. Jamie D. Barker
James teaches English composition and literature at Darton State College. He received his PhD from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in twentieth-century American literature. In his dissertation, he is focusing on twentieth-century African American, Native American, and Japanese American poetry and historical trauma that has manifested within these cultures and how such stress and trauma continue to affect individuals and are palpable in poetry. He served as editorial assistant of the North American office of the psychology journal, Anxiety, Stress, and Coping and as lead editor for the Electronic Proceedings of the 27th Conference of the STAR Society, at the University of Crete in Greece. In addition to his research, he is also an internationally published and award-winning poet, having had more than 25 poems published in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
In addition to studying twentieth century poetry and psychology, James enjoys examining the oral/aural aspects of poetry and how versioning can influence and alter the interpretations of a poem. He also enjoys learning about astrophysics, astronomy, and the philosophies of: Socrates, Marx, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Paulo Freire, Che Guevara, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Noam Chomsky, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henry Louis Gates, Cornel West, as well as Derrida to a lesser extent. He also enjoys nearly any type of live music, football, rugby, opera, and the theatre.
James earned his bachelor's degree from Otterbein University in Central Ohio, where he was born and raised. Originally a psychology and nursing student, James is a three-time dropout from college. The second time was due to a heart condition that forced him to have a pacemaker implanted in his heart. He likes to tell the story of seeing himself flat-line during a procedure in the hospital, an experience he described, both then and now, as being, "awesome," but he is quick to point out that you should not try it at home. His condition was not identified or remedied for more than six months, at which time he developed his ability to write poetry and gain a greater understanding of the English language. He states, "English, both writing and reading, were always the most difficult subjects for me in school. I excelled in science and math, and never dreamed of studying English, but I thought since English is the most challenging subject for me, why not try to earn a PhD in it." While completing his graduate work, he worked at a garden center where he operated a variety of heavy machinery as well as Bobcats, forklifts, and a variety of dump trucks. During this time, he learned a great deal about plants, soil, and mulch.
More than anything, James loves teaching in the classroom. He enjoys the interaction with students and bringing a fun and friendly environment into his classroom. He hopes to bring his passion for teaching and learning to as many students at Darton as possible.