Shanti Parikh, Ph.D., is Associate Chair of African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, Associate Professor of Anthropology, and a Fellow with the Institute of Global Health. As a feminist scholar, writer and activist, Professor Parikh is a highly acclaimed researcher, consultant and speaker on racial justice, gender inequalities, and community empowerment.
At Washington University, she has a reputation for being an inspiring mentor and dynamic classroom teacher, being awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Research, Emerson Teaching Award, Rosa Parks Award to Service to the Community, the College Honors Award, and other recognitions from student groups and the University. For two decades, Professor Parikh has lead students through community health and justice field programs in Uganda, and many have gone on to have impressive careers in global health, gender rights, and public policy while others have been inspired to establish long-term partnerships in Uganda, including the Engineers Without Borders, GlobeMed, Empower Through Health, and Uganda Village Health Project.
In terms of research and publishing, Professor Parikh combines ethnographic methods, action research, and social theory to understand how Black communities in Africa and globally respond to historical and changing conditions and oppressions. She is interested in how epidemics, inequalities, and other forms of violence not only produce suffering, injury, and harm but also engender creative community acts of survival, intimacy, and resistance that tie diverse people and generations together. In addition to numerous articles, Professor Parikh is author of two books Regulating Romance: Youth Love Letters, Moral Anxiety, and Interventions in Uganda's Time of AIDS (Vanderbilt Press 2016) and co-author of The Secret: Love, Marriage, and HIV (Vanderbilt University Press 2009). She is currently finishing a book manuscript, Failing Black Men: How Global Capitalism and Policies Have Undermined Masculine Aspirations in Africa, based on her 25 years of research in Uganda, and has an on-going research project on extractive economies, HIV risk, and truckstop sex work along the TransAfrica Highway. Her most recent project—“@Ferguson: Still Here in the Afterlives of Black Death, Resistance and Joy”—appeared in anthropology’s flagship journal, American Ethnologist, and is an innovative collaboration between St. Louis artivists (activists-artists) and scholars based on the 400-day Ferguson protest, the longest resistance in U.S. history and called the Birth of the 21st century racial justice movement.
Dr. Parikh’s dedication to justice and rights-based causes dates to her high school and college days, when she was a leader in the local NCAACP youth chapter and in the student anti-Apartheid activities on her college campus. Since moving to St. Louis 20 years ago, she has been an active player in racial, reproductive and economic justice. She served as the Board Chair of Planned Parenthood, Vice Chair of St. Louis Effort for AIDS, Financial Chair of the Deaconess Foundation, Board Chair of Professional Organization of Women, and on the boards of St. Louis Public Radio, Safe Connections, Clayton Community Foundation, and the Danforth Plant Science Center Leadership Council.
Originally from Maryland, Dr. Parikh received her B.S. in Finance from the University of Virginia and a PhD from Yale University in sociocultural Anthropology. Her husband Jason Wilson owns Northwest Coffee Roasting Company and is on Clayton’s Board of Education. They have two sons Jason (13 years old) and Julian (11 years old)