Residential College Symposium


Opening Keynote Speaker!

Dr. Shanti Parikh

Dr. Parikh is currently an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Faculty Fellow at Thomas Eliot Residential College at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Parikh's research focuses on the intersection of local transformations; global processes; and structures of inequalities surrounding issues of sexuality, particularly gender, sexual and reproductive health, regulation, courtship and romance, and marriage. Using ethnographic and historical methods and critical theory, Dr. Parikh’s research in eastern Uganda focuses on how regimes of regulation and discourses of sexuality have shifted since independence and, more recently, during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Dr. Parikh’s current work examines youth romance as written in their love letters, and attempts to regulate sexuality through the age of consent law. She pays  particular attention to the articulations of historic inequalities such as sex, age, and class in sexual relationships. She has begun further research on infidelity and HIV transmission and the social history of sexuality in rural post-colonial Uganda. Broadly speaking, Dr. Parikh is interested in sexual and reproductive health issues, and regimes of sexuality. Her courses cross into African and Afro-American Studies, Women's Studies, International and Area Studies, Social Thought and Analysis, and the History and Philosophy of Science

Prior to her appointment as faculty at Washington University in St. Louis she was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at WUSTL after getting her Ph.D. At Yale University in Anthropology and her Bachelors degree in Finance from the University of Virginia. She also served in the Peace Corps as a small business advisor in Kenya.

Additionally, she served as a Faculty Affiliate in Liggett/Koenig Residential College prior to her appointment as a Faculty Fellow of Thomas Eliot Residential College. 

Closing Keynote Speaker!

Chalene Helmuth, Ph.D.

Chalene Helmuth is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Vanderbilt University, where she teaches courses in Spanish language, LatinAmerican literature, and tourism and sustainability.  She is Affiliated Faculty in the Center for Latin American Studies.

Dr. Helmuth is Director of the VISAGE program in Costa Rica (a three-sequence course involving pre-travel study, service-learning abroad, and research upon re-entry) and Co-Director of Vanderbilt/Tulane in Costa Rica.  She is the author of two books, The Postmodern Fuentes (Bucknell) on the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes, and Culture and Customs of Costa Rica (Greenwood).  Her teaching and research interests include Latin American narrative and identity, sustainability studies, and the development of cultural competencies in study-abroad contexts.  Before joining Vanderbilt in 2003, Dr. Helmuth taught at Centre College and Furman University.

Dr. Helmuth serves as Faculty Head of Sutherland House in the Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, engaging residents in explorations of identity, culture, and language as the intellectual and community leader of the House.  She enjoys working closely with student Resident Assistants, Residential Education staff, campus and community partners, and other faculty colleagues to implement a residential curriculum designed to improve the overall undergraduate experience.  She and her family have lived on the Commons for eight years.

Prof. Helmuth was raised in Costa Rica and has directed study-abroad programs in Latin America (Mexico, Cuba, and Costa Rica) for over twenty years.  She finds useful points of comparison between the challenges and opportunities of study-abroad contexts and the immersive qualities of the residential college experience.