Roy Richard Grinker

Roy Grinker

Roy Richard Grinker

Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, George Washington University


Research Focus

Dr. Grinker is an expert on autism, mental illness and psychological anthropology in children. He completed the first-ever epidemiological study of autism spectrum disorder in South Korea and is the author of many publications, including “Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism.”

  • Autism
  • Psychological and psychiatric anthropology
  • Ethnicity and nationalism
  • Gender
  • Symbolic anthropology
  • Hunter-gatherers
  • Regional foci: Africa, Korea

Anth 0801: Autism across Cultures
Anth 1002: Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology
Anth 3503: Psychological Anthropology
Anth 3506: Politics, Ethnicity, and Nationalism
Anth 3708: Cultures of Africa
Anth 6201: Proseminar in Sociocultural Anthropology
Anth 6391: National Mythologies
Anth 6507: Nationalism and Ethnicity



  • 2010  Grinker, R., S. Lubkemann, and C.B. Steiner, eds. Perspectives on Africa: A Reader in Culture, History and Representation. 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • 2007  Grinker, R. Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism. NY: Basic Books.
  • 2000  Grinker, R. In the Arms of Africa: The Life of Colin M. Turnbull. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • 1998  Grinker, R. Korea and its Futures: Unification and the Unfinished War. NY: St. Martin's Press.
  • 1994  Grinker, R. Houses in the Rainforest: Ethnicity and Inequality among Farmers and Foragers in Central Africa. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Articles and Book Chapters

  • 2016  Grinker, R.R.  “What in the world is autism? A cross-cultural perspective.” Reprint of “What in the world is autism?: A cross-cultural perspective,” Zero to Three: Journal of the National Center for Infants and Toddlers 28(4):5-10. In Peter Brown and Svea Closser, eds., Understanding and Applying Medical Anthropology, 3rd ed., 311-19.
  • 2013 Grinker, Roy R. and Kyungjin Cho. "Border Children: Interpreting Autism Spectrum Disorder in South Korea," Ethos 41(1): 46-74.
  • 2012  Grinker, R.R., T. Daley, and D. Mandell. "Culture and Autism." In Fred Volkmar, ed., Encyclopaedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. NY: Springer Verlag.
  • 2012  Grinker, R.R., et al. "‘Communities’ in Community Engagement: Lessons Learned from Autism Research in South Africa and South Korea," Autism Research 5(3): 201-210.
  • 2011  Kim, Y.S., B. Leventhal, Y-J Koh, E. Fombonne, E. Laska, E-C Lim, K-A Chun, S-J Kim, Y-K Kim, H-J Lee, D-H Song, and R.R. Grinker."Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in a total population sample," American Journal of Psychiatry. 168(90):  904-912. Published online, May 9, 2011. [Nature 2011 Editor’s Choice Selection].
  • 2011  Grinker, R.R., M. Yeargin-Allsopp, and C. Doyle. "ASD and Culture: International Trends in Prevalence and Diagnosis.” In D. Amaral, D. Geschwind, and G. Dawson, eds. Autism Spectrum Disorders (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
  • 2010  Grinker, R.R. "The five lives of the psychiatry manual," Nature 468 (11): 168-170.
  • 2010  Grinker, R.R. "The contribution of social science to understanding and appreciating autism." In Autism through the Lens of the Social Sciences. Papers from a conference held at the University of Chicago, April 3-4, 2008, p. 7-16. Online at
  • 2010  "On being autistic, and social." Ethos (Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology, AAA) 38(1): 172-178.

Ph.D. 1989, Harvard University
M.A. 1985, Harvard University
B.A. 1983, Grinnell College