Hyde Park Book Club

Nobody’s Normal By Chicago born Roy Richard Grinker
Monday, October 18, 2021, 7:30pm
Register Here


Noted Author and George Washington University professor of anthropology Roy Richard Grinker (above left) will discuss his new book Nobody’s Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness, published by W. W. Norton, that addresses the historic practices that have placed a stigma on mental health. Grinker may be seen discussing his book in a Ted Talk here.

Born and raised in Chicago, where his father, grandfather and great-grandfather practiced psychoanalysis, Grinker will discuss how Hyde Park and Chicago have figured in his life and work. Paying homage to the role they have played in his work, he dedicated Nobody’s Normal to the “Chicago Grinkers” – Roy R. Grinker, Jr., Roy R. Grinker Sr., and Julius Grinker. More information can be found in the attached flyer.

The discussant (above right) for the event is UChicago associate professor Eugene Raikhel, a cultural and medical anthropologist and Director of the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies. He is the author of Governing Habits: Treating Alcoholism in the Post-Soviet Clinic published by Cornell University Press.

Meet the Chicago Grinkers:
Four Generations of Renowned Leaders in American Psychiatry and Anthropology

Author Roy Richard Grinker (known as Richard Grinker) is an internationally acclaimed anthropologist who stands on the shoulders of three generations that inform his work – and in which Chicago, Hyde Park, and the University of Chicago have played pivotal roles.

Richard Grinker (1961-) was born and raised in Chicago where his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather practiced psychoanalysis and who each became leaders in American psychiatry. Richard is professor of anthropology and international affairs at the George Washington University. He is the author of several books, including Unstrange Minds, published by Basic, 2007 and Nobody’s Normal, W. W. Norton 2021. He lives in Washington, DC.

Richard’s great-grandfather Julius Grinker (1868- 1928) was born into poverty in what was then Prussia. He trained as a neurologist and then immigrated to Chicago where he entered practice and became nationally renowned as a leader in mental health. Dr. Grinker was professor of nervous and mental diseases at Northwestern University and Post-Graduate Medical School.

Richard’s grandfather, Roy R. Grinker, Sr. (1900-1993) continued in his father’s footsteps. Trained as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, he was analyzed by Sigmund Freud in Vienna. Roy Sr. returned to Chicago, founded the Psychiatry Department at the University of Chicago and a small psychiatric unit at Billings Hospital. He also developed a lab at the University to study schizophrenia. Roy Sr. also did groundbreaking work confronting the traumas of war, as one of just a handful of psychiatrists working near the front lines in WW II. He influenced many leading psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

Richard’s father, Roy R. Grinker, Jr. (1927- ), was born at 57th and Dorchester in Hyde Park. He is a retired psychiatrist who practiced at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. He currently lives in the north side of Chicago. Richard’s father imparted to him a rich understanding of the significant work accomplished by Richard’s great-grandfather and grandfather.

The Grinker familial legacy mirrors larger changes in the history of American psychiatry in which Chicago and Hyde Park played key roles. All of the Grinkers listed above appear in the narrative of Nobody’s Normal.

All Are Welcome!